London, May 8 : Hindus in the United Kingdom have lost their battle in court to have the right to be cremated out in the open. A UK court has rejected the plea of Hindu spiritualist Davinder Ghai to have the right to an open cremation in the country on Friday, May 8.
Expressing disappointment over the rule Ghai said that the war has just started and is determined to fight the case further to allow him a natural cremation on a funeral pyre as per Hindu tradition.
The case of Ghai, a devout Hindu, fits no one's idea of a radical minority-rights activist, but the British Government's move to disallow his request, has aroused fierce hostility in some quarters among Britain's 558,000 Hindus.
According to The Telegraph, the National Council for Hindu Priests, in common with most British Hindu organizations, supports the man's claim, viewing it as 'the single most significant campaign to promote Hindu religious freedom in British history'.
Ghai who believes that this is the way to his spiritual nirvana is challenging Newcastle City Council's refusal to allow a designated site for open-air cremations. If the judicial review is successful, such sites could spring up around the country.
Three years ago, Britain witnessed first open funeral pyre since the Home Office authorised one for a Nepalese princess in 1934.
The mother and sister of an Indian man who died aged 31 were among a small group of mourners, led by Ghai, who watched as his body, covered in a white cloth, was placed on the wooden pyre.
A Brahmin priest led chanting as flowers were thrown into the consecrated fire. Incense burnt, water from the Ganges was sprinkled and an earthenware pot smashed to symbolise the soul's release and rebirth.
The ceremony was held in secret because Newcastle City Council had ruled that the 1902 Cremation Act outlawed it.