By exhuming the body of a little Hindu girl, one year after her burial, to assuage the Muslim rage...

RAWALPINDI, Dec 1: ‘Peace’ returned to Ratta Amral graveyard on Tuesday night after the body of a little Hindu girl buried there a year ago was exhumed by her family and reburied in the adjacent Christian graveyard.

Their act of assuaging ‘Muslim sensitivities’ took place in the dark of the night and under tight security.

“When we buried our Summan Prem there on October 1, 2009, we mistakenly thought it was the Christian graveyard,” an uncle of the girl told Dawn, tears rolling down his cheeks in memory of his niece who would have been 10 this year.

“We did not want to cause any controversy, or annoy anyone. If the (graveyard management) committee does not want us Hindus to bury their dead here, we won’t,” he said.

Summan’s father, Prem Kishan, was spared the pain of shifting his daughter’s remains from, so to say, Muslim to Christian grounds, as he was away in Sukkur on the day for the funeral of his nephew.

Her family, living on The Mall, Saddar, is Balmeki Hindu, some of whom bury their dead instead of cremating.

Summan’s Hindu ancestry became known only after the family put a tombstone on her grave, bearing her name and Hindu Mantras.

Tongues started wagging at this ‘sacrilege’ and agitated Muslim clerics and visitors to the Ratta Amral graveyard raised ‘the issue’ with the graveyard’s managing committee.

They accused the management of negligence and threatened to stop burying their dead in the graveyard unless it was ‘purified’ by removing the non-Muslim’s body.

Alarmed by the anger that the dead Summan was causing, the management committee requested her family to move her out of the Muslim graveyard — which it did.

“We were not aware of the Hindu burial. Clerics and people of the area brought it to our notice and their reaction made us request the family to remove it to the adjacent Christian graveyard,” said Ratta Amral Graveyard Management Committee chairman Mohammad Mohsin Mir.

There are many graves of lower caste Hindus in the Christian graveyard which had been separated from the Muslim cemetery, he said.

“It was a mistake for the grave digger to assume that Summan was a Muslim. Otherwise the management committee is well aware that non-Muslims could not be buried in our graveyard,” said Mr Mir. His fear of the angry Muslim sentiments was understandable.

Hafiz Iqbal Rizvi, Rawalpindi District Khateeb, holds that Shariat does not allow burying non-Muslims in Muslim graveyards.

Chairman of the District Peace Committee Maulana Izhar Hussain Shah Bukhari blamed the burial of the non-Muslim girl in Ratta Amral graveyard on the management committee and the grave digger who did not register the names of the dead brought to the graveyard.

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