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Kurukshetra man’s ashes hang in balance as 90-year-old wife, son spar to stake claim

79-year-old Mahinder Singh had died of Covid on October 20, but his son never informed his mother until after the cremation; matter reaches high court that will hear it next on January 14.
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Surender Sharma
UPDATED ON NOV 07, 2020 11:12 PM IST

Over two weeks after he died of Covid-19, the ashes of Mahinder Singh are stashed in a locker at the Sector-25 crematorium, awaiting final rituals.

Reason: An impasse between his family members over who gets the remains.

The dispute has reached the Punjab and Haryana high court, with Mahinder’s wife Jaswant Kaur,90, levelling allegations against her son, Daler Singh, 45, an NRI living in Germany.

It was Daler, who brought his 79-year-old father from Kurukshetra to PGIMER for treatment on October 13, but he died on October 20. Of the couple’s six sons, one died, Daler lives abroad and the remaining four sons and their nonagenarian mother live in Kurukshetra.

Jaswant has alleged that Daler did not inform them of her husband’s death and only sounded them after cremating him on the evening of October 20. The family rushed to Chandigarh and asked the crematorium caretaker for Mahinder’s ashes.

However, as Daler was the signing authority at the cremation, they were turned down, with the NRI even threatening them of criminal action, forcing them to approach the police.

Daler, however, did not yield even after police intervention, prompting Jaswant to move the high court on October 27, staking claim over the ashes.

The Chandigarh administration counsel had then assured the court of mediation to try and pacify both the parties. However, Daler has never turned up for the meetings on five occasions between October 28 and November 3.

Appearing for Daler in court on November 4, his counsel sought time to respond to the plea of his mother.

Law experts say the ashes can now neither be collected by Daler nor his other family members till a decision by the court that will hear the case next on January 14. Awaiting the final goodbye, Mahinder’s remains will till then stay locked away at the crematorium.

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