A man’s body could be exhumed because the family of a Muslim man in a neighboring plot at a multi-faith burial site doesn’t want their relative buried next to someone who isn’t Muslim.
89-year old Leicester, England resident Shadrack Smith, a notable figure in the Romany gypsy community, died last month after developing pneumonia. His family purchased three plots at Lychgate Lane Cemetary that faced his house – keeping with Romany traditions. After the plots were purchased, the family of a Muslim man buried next to Smith began objecting to their relative being buried next to someone of a different faith.
“My mother-in-law chose the plot - she had her heart set on it,” Smith’s daughter-in-law, Tracy Smith, said. “The grave was already being dug and bricked out when we had a call last Monday at 5.45pm from Julie Perrin at the parish council asking us if we could move plots. We said no - we bought the land and it was too late to find another plot.”
Tracy said she thought the Muslim family might have been under the impression that their relative was in a Muslim plot, even though Lychgate late is a nondenominational, interfaith cemetery. She said there is a strong possibility that her father-in-law’s body could be exhumed.
“We bought the plots in good faith - no one said we couldn’t have them. We don’t want any of the bodies exhuming but it looks like that is what might happen,” she said. “We feel hurt and humiliated. The whole family is heartbroken.”
The chairman Burbage Parish Council, the owners of the cemetery, said they were working with both families to resolve the issue.
“Burbage Parish Council provides an award-winning cemetery for the benefit of the whole community. The cemetery is multi-faith and non-denominational, providing a number of interment and memorial options in a peaceful, serene, picturesque environment,” chairman Richard Flemming said. “Unfortunately the parish council has recently received representation from two families regarding the allocation of adjacent grave plots within Burbage Cemetery. The parish council is sympathetic to the feelings of both families concerned and is committed to working with the relatives and the wider community to reach an amicable and acceptable solution.”
Despite the council’s statement, Tracy Smith said she feels they are trying to push her family away.
“We just want to solve this amicably. This was not our fault. It’s the council’s cock-up,” she said. “Before we bought the plots I even asked if it would be a problem and was told it would be fine. I don’t see how this will help - they will still be together 6ft deep. It’s laughable. They want to push us away and hide us. We feel the council were very unsympathetic towards us. We have had no apology.”
Photo Credit: hinckleytimes.com, Newsteam via Daily Mail