Hindu tribals being prevented from cremating their dead in Paks NWFP

May 7th, 2008 - 5:27 pm ICT by admin  

Peshawar, May 7 (ANI): Muslims are reportedly not allowing Hindu tribals living in Kurram, Hangu, Orakzai and Kohat tribal areas to perform the last rites of their dead at the Shamshan Ghat approved by the Britishers in the pre-Independence era.

The Hindus, who have been living here for centuries, had sought permission for cremating their dead in the mountains of Alizai area, which, according to them, was being used as Shamshan Ghat with the approval of the Britishers.

The Nazim of union council Alizai Iftikhar Hussain had on Monday inaugurated the place for cremating the bodies, but the local elders stopped the ceremony, saying they would give permission after discussing the matter in a jirga, reported the Dawn.

When, after 1947, the Hindus were refused permission by the local Muslims, they started carrying the dead bodies to district Attock for cremation. They repeatedly requested the government for providing them a place for the purpose in the settled or the tribal areas of the region.

A Hindu elder on condition of anonymity said that they used to cremate their dead near the Kohat Toi few decades back, but the Pakistan military men forcibly stopped the practice taking the plea that it demoralised the soldiers who took part in exercises in these areas.

He further said that the poor Hindu community was unable to bear the extra burden of expenses incurred on taking the bodies to Attock and then make arrangements for wood and costly oil used in cremation.

A place for the last rites of the Balmiki Hindu community living in the tribal as well as the settled areas was inaugurated in union council Ali Zai two years back by former MPA Syed Qalb-i-Hassan, and was formally inaugurated by the nazim of the area, Iftikhar Hussain on Monday.

However, the elders of the area made it clear to the Hindu community that they should not perform the last rites of their deceased there unless the issue of demarcation of the Shamshan Ghat was settled. (ANI)

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