Ethnic Indian fights for pyre 'dignity' | india | Hindustan Times
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Ethnic Indian fights for pyre 'dignity'

india Updated: Jan 18, 2010 21:37 IST

An ethnic Indian will appeal in a British court on Monday to seek an open-air cremations for Hindus in the UK in a three-year battle to overturn a decision by a local authority.

71-year-old Davender Ghai, from Tyneside, wants the right to burn funeral pyres in accordance with Hindu religious and cultural beliefs.

He is approaching the appeal court in a three-year battle to overturn a decision by Newcastle city council, which denied him a license for a pyre because it was unlawful under the 1930 Cremation Act, the Guardian newspaper said on Monday.

The high court last May upheld the local authority's ruling and justified the prohibition.

The Hindu community in the UK was outraged by comments of Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who supported the legislation prohibiting an open pyre funeral.

Straw, intervened in the case, contending that the legislation was not incompatible with Ghai's human rights and that the decision was justified on the grounds of public health, public safety, public health and public morals.

"To suggest a practice which has been carried out for thousands of years and still is by 800 million Hindus in India is somehow 'abhorrent' is insensitive and very unhelpful. No one, including Baba Ghai, has ever suggested doing outdoor cremations in public," the Hindu Forum of Britain reacted angrily to Straw's remarks.