INDIA: Sikh woman cremated by Muslim neighbours in Punjab after family refuses to turn up

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A Sikh woman was cremated by her Muslim neighbours in Punjab’s Malerkotla town on Monday after her family members refused to take possession of the body. The woman, identified as Dilpreet Kaur, used to work as a domestic help. She died after falling ill while on a pilgrimage last month.

“We used to call her Rani Aunty. She was living alone in a one-room rented accommodation. We had no idea about her family background until the time she died. Her brother and mother live in Canada, while her in-laws’ family lives in Jhunda village of Sangrur district. Both are from well off families,” said Mohammad Aslam, the councillor of ward number 9 under whose area Tubewell basti falls.

Aslam said Kaur’s son and daughter refused to attend the cremation when they were informed about her death.

“After searching for numbers on her phone, I called her son, but he refused to come. We got to know that she had been divorced in 1999 and since then, she had been living in this one-room accommodation and was working as the domestic help,” Aslam added.

“All these years, we never came to know about her family’s details. However, it was shocking to listen that her son, as well as daughter, refused to come to her cremation. Last year, her daughter had come to meet her,” he said.

The police said Muslim families from the area are also planning to organise a ritual offering at a local gurudwara.

“As no one came from her family’s side, Muslims of the area, following all Hindu rituals, cremated her. They spent money on her cremation and will also be organising a bhog at a gurdwara,” said Sub-inspector Nirbhay Singh.

Among those present at the cremation included women in whose houses Kaur worked and staff members of a local school.

“It was really a sad incident and we were deeply shocked to hear the reaction of her children while there are no whereabouts of her parents-side relatives who live in Canada. We will be following all the rituals of her cremation, even though her family did not turn up,” Aslam added.


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