Islamabad: A Hindu family had to exhume the body of a little girl it had mistakenly buried in a Muslim graveyard in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi and rebury it in an adjacent Christian cemetery after objections from Muslims.
The Hindu family exhumed the girl`s body from Ratta Amral graveyard on Tuesday night under tight security and reburied it in the adjoining cemetery.
The girl`s family, which lives in The Mall area of Rawalpindi, are Balmeki Hindus, some of whom bury their dead instead of cremating them.
"When we buried our Summan Prem (in the Muslim graveyard) on October 01, 2009, we mistakenly thought it was the Christian graveyard," an uncle of the girl told the Dawn newspaper, tears rolling down his cheeks as he remembered his niece who would have turned 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 exhuming his daughter`s body as he was away in Sukkur in Sindh province to attend the funeral of his nephew.
The girl`s Hindu ancestry became known after her family put a tombstone bearing her name and Hindu mantras on her grave.
"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," the Dawn reported.
The Muslims 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 grave was causing, the management requested her family to move her out of the Muslim graveyard.
"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 (the body) to the adjacent Christian graveyard," said Mohammad Mohsin Mir, chairman of Ratta Amral graveyard management committee.
There are many graves of lower caste Hindus in the Christian cemetery, which had been separated from the Muslim graveyard, Mir 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," he said.
Hafiz Iqbal Rizvi, a senior cleric in Rawalpindi, said Shariah or Islamic law does not allow the burial of non-Muslims in Muslim graveyards.
District Peace Committee chairman Maulana Izhar Hussain Shah Bukhari blamed the burial of the Hindu girl in Ratta Amral graveyard on the management and the grave digger who did not register the names of the dead brought to the graveyard.