British tourist dies in Kochi, family struggles to cremate his body

British tourist dies in Kochi, family struggles to cremate his body

Kochi: The body of a British citizen who died in Kochi during the New Year celebrations was kept in a mortuary for 10 days, thanks to the complications raised by the civic authorities. The body was cremated on Friday afternoon only after the Kerala Human Rights Commission ordered an inquiry into the delay.

Kenneth William, aged 89, died in Fort Kochi on December 31. He was visiting Kochi along with daughter Hillary. Hillary chose to cremate her father in Kochi instead of flying the body back home to London. The plan was to go for a funeral service at the St Joseph Church at Chullikkal and later cremate the body at the corporation crematorium at Fort Kochi. She wanted to carry the ashes back home.

Hillary received permission from the local police and the British embassy to cremate her father. She was joined by the other members of her family. She sought permission from the corporation and the cremation was scheduled for January 10.

The mourning family was in for a shock when last-minute complications arose. They could not contact anyone in the corporation office due to the two-day general strike. The crematorium staff said that they could receive the body only when a councillor told them to do.

The local councillor apparently was not very helpful. The local people helped the family in their hour of crisis and one of them even shot off a letter to the human rights panel.

On Friday, the health division of the corporation granted permission to cremate the body.