It took three days and two government officials to finally bury Kanti Lakra, a Christian convert from Hinduism, in India. Kanti’s husband attempted to bury her in a Christian fashion at his home, another village and even four churches before he had to contact government officials to help him find a grave for his wife. Hindus traditionally cremate their dead, so when Kanti’s husband tried to bury his wife, Hindus in his village disallowed it as a violation of Hinduism. Churches denied Kanti’s husband a grave because she was a convert from Hinduism. This story exemplifies the state of limbo many Christian converts from Hinduism live in every day in India.
8/15/2013 India (Times of India) – Years ago, when Kanti Lakra converted from Hinduism to Christianity and adopted the surname Kerketta, little must her family have realized that the consequences would follow her to the grave.
Kanti’s body lay at her home in Kesura village in Hazaribag for more than 36 hours as first a Hindu crematorium and then four churches refused her husband to perform the last rites. The 60-year old had died of kidney failure on August 12 at the Hazaribag sadar hospital.
DSP Ratneshwar Thakur said Kanti’s husband, Shiv Prakash Ram, first decided to bury the body as per Christian tradition at the village burning ghat because there was no cemetery there. However, the villagers stopped him from digging a grave. The DSP said they told Ram that they could only allow a Hindu funeral at the ghat and advised him to cremate his wife as he was the only Christian in the village.
“We can’t allow burial of a body in the burning ghat although Ram could have carried out the last rites as per Hindu norms,” said Balram Mahato, the village head.
Ram then decided to bury her body in his own orchard, but this, too, was opposed by Hindus. “The villagers refused to let Ram use his residential plot as a graveyard because the house has an old Shiva temple,” a police source said.
Ram finally approached the cops and met officer Arvind Kumar Singh and a police team visited the village to help him find a suitable space for the grave. But the team failed to convince the villagers and the police had to approach higher authorities in the district for a solution.