The family of a murdered woman who was given a Muslim burial on Monday, after she succumbed to her injuries, is pleading with the members of the Sikh community to let her rest in peace
The woman, 37-year-old Surinder Kaur Bedi, was fighting for her life after she was attacked by a 55-year-old man using his helmet near Queensbay Mall, Penang.
She succumbed to her injuries early Monday morning at the Penang Hospital where she was taken after being attacked by the man, said to be her boyfriend.
According to Northeast district police chief Assistant Commissioner Che Zaimani Che Awan, the case has been classified as under Section 302 for murder, with the 55-year-old suspect remanded in police custody till 6 April, reported NST Online.
She was buried at the Jelutong Muslim Cemetery on Monday afternoon in accordance with Muslim rites following her family's request to the Penang Islamic Department.
However, since her burial, members of the Sikh community have raised concerns, saying the family's claim that the woman converted to Islam is not true and that they want to exhume the woman's body and bury her according to Sikh rites.
While pleading everyone to leave her late daughter's body alone in her grave in the Muslim cemetery, 69-year-old mother of the woman has since warned that regardless of what happens she will not allow "any parties to interfere and try to exhume my daughter's body"
According to 69-year-old Nazirah Bibi, Surinder, who was her youngest child, had converted to Islam since last year but did not officially register her conversion.
The mother argues that even if there was no official documentation to prove that her daughter had converted to Islam, outsiders have no right to interfere in her funeral rites.
I am her mother, I am still alive, I will not allow anyone else to take her body.
"Our whole family had converted to Islam for many years and our God is Allah so don’t touch her body, let her rest in peace," the mother was quoted as saying by Malay Mail.
"I can't let anyone take my daughter’s body out from her grave. It's wrong to do this. I am her mother, I know she's a Muslim," she said, adding that her daughter had recited the kalimah syahadah twice many times in front of her and other family members.
According to the mother, Surinder had wanted to be buried in accordance with Muslim rites instead of under the Sikhism rites
"We were very close, and I knew of her decision to convert to Islam, her only mistake was not registering her conversion," the mother said, wiping away her tears.
She added that Surinder had wanted to be buried close to her dad and brothers.
However, soon after Surinder was buried in accordance with Muslim rites at the Jelutong Muslim Cemetery, the Penang chapter of the Malaysian Sikh Youth Organisation demanded proof of conversion
They said if there was no proof, the association would ask for her body to be exhumed and that she be laid to rest in accordance with Sikh funeral rites, reported Malay Mail.
They claim that the community wants to clear the air and put the record straight about the matter as it does not wish to create havoc among the different races in Malaysia.
"We just want to get the truth and we have come to an understanding with the Penang Mufti Department after we met their officials this morning," the Malaysian Sikh Youth Organisation Pinang advisor Harjinder Singh told Malaysiakini.
"If Surinder Kaur Bedi had truly converted to Islam, and there is proof, we have no issues with her being buried according to Muslim rites. However, if she is still a Sikh, we would like to exhume the body so we can bury her according to Sikh rites," he added.
According to the Sikh group, while the family may have rights over the woman's body, they do not have any rights over her religion