Furore over open air cremation in UK
A Sikh man's open air cremation, the first in Britain in 72 years, has been criticised by the community in the country.
The Sikh Federation of the UK has termed the ritual as "unnecessary", according to a report in the Eastern Eye, an ethnic Asian newspaper.
The federation has also demanded legal action against the Anglo-Asian Friendship Society (AAFS), which had conducted the funeral of Rajpal Mehat.
"As far as Sikhs in the UK are concerned, cremation in gas furnaces with the necessary Sikh religious service is something that is suitable. The AAFS is not representative of the Sikh community," the report quoted a spokesperson of the Sikh Federation as saying.
The cremated man, a 31-year-old Sikh, was an illegal immigrant and had drowned in a Southall canal in December 2005.
After attempts to fly his body to India failed, AAFS president Davender Kumar Ghai organised the open air ritual at an undisclosed venue, according to the wishes of the family who flew in from India.
The 1930 British cremation act prohibits the cremation of human remains anywhere except in a crematorium.
The 2,000-member AAFS is fighting for a change in this law to allow open air cremations, which they claim will cost 500 pounds compared with 3,000 pounds in gas crematoriums.