Cleansing ceremony to sanctify crematorium

2013-12-20 00:00

THREE Hindu priests were involved in a cleansing ceremony on Wednesday to restore the sanctity of the Mountain Rise crematorium.

Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela, who was present, had earlier apologised to an outraged Hindu community after four calves were used to test whether two newly installed cremators were working.

Cows are regarded as sacred in Hinduism and Hindus are not permitted to eat beef.

Members of the local Hindu community threatened to boycott the facility and called the action by a municipal official insulting, and a gross violation of their religious beliefs.

Ndlela had met with the Msunduzi Crematorium and Cemeteries Concerned Citizens Committee (MCCCC) and the Midlands Hindu Society. He agreed to facilitate a “cleansing ceremony”, by the priests to sanctify the crematorium.

In a joint statement, Ndlela and MCCCC chairperson advocate Ranjiv Nirghin said a prayer for forgiveness was offered to “Goh Mata”, [Mother Cow] for the unfortunate incident. A prayer of re-dedication of the crematorium was also done to sanctify the facility and pray for it to function properly.

The brand new cremators installed in August this year at a cost of R6 million failed to function within days of being installed. First the door on one cremator malfunctioned and in the same month, the motor had blown on a second cremator. The controversial test run using the carcasses of calves was a result of the continuous breakdown of the cremators.

At the meeting with the organisations, the mayor agreed that an investigation would be conducted to establish who was responsible for the cow incident. He also agreed to a forensic investigation into the awarding of the tender to supply, install and maintain the two new cremators.

Ndlela said he would meet with the MCCCC once the municipality’s investigations were completed early in February 2014.

The priests who carried out the cleansing ceremony were pundits Kenny Chetty, Krish Pillay and Sanil Maharaj.

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