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UK: NRI Davender Ghai wins open-air cremation plea

An Indian-origin social and spiritual leader in the UK on Wednesday won the right to be cremated in an open air funeral pyre according to Hindu rituals, ending a prolonged legal battle.

In a landmark judgment, Britain’s Court of Appeal granted Davender Ghai, 71, the right to be cremated after his death in an open-air funeral pyre.

Delighted at the ruling, Ghai said the verdict had “breathed new life into an old man’s dreams. I always maintained that I wanted to clarify the law, not disobey or disrespect it.”

Since open-air cremations anywhere outside a crematorium have been prohibited in Britain under the 1902 Cremation Act, many Indian-origin families in Britain take bodies of their deceased relatives to India for cremation according to Hindu rites.

Ghai has been campaigning for the right to be cremated according to his Hindu beliefs for several years and sought legal redress.

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Desh Kapoor

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