Another family was in tears, not just for the person who died, but being unable to perform the Hindu burial rights on a dear beloved – the last and final expression of love to a kin born in the family.
I am referring to Elangeswaran Benedict, who was a Hindu but buried as a Muslim. He died by committing suicide.
The fact that he committed suicide, did not deter his family from going to court to confirm that the family did not know anything of the conversion to Islam, His step brother S.Selvam, aged 48, tried his best getting lawyer Karpal Singh to defend the case but failed eventually to stop the religious department in having their way.
Elangeswaran was married with a wife and two children aged 6 and 3. He was a practicing Hindu, and there were no documents to prove he had converted.
His half brother left it to the Penang High Court to decide, but because the Parit Buntar Syariah Court ruled that Elangeswaran was a Musim, the High Court judge, commenting the High Court had no jurisdiction to decide over an earlier Syariah court ruling, allowed the Muslim religious authorities to claim the body. Basically this means that when the case is pending in the High Court, the Syariah court made a decision.
It is no point getting annoyed about the split milk. Something must be done to ensure the milk does not spill any more.
Prime Minister Badawi had suggested that Muslim convert’s family should be made aware of the change in religion. There was a lot of hue and cry from the Muslim authorities over this, and that was the last news on this delicate issue on conversion.
Can Badawi be requested to look into this again and ensure some fairness to families of members who convert.