George’s ashes buried at Bejai Church

George’s ashes buried at Bejai Church

The ashes of former defence minister were sealed in a vessel at St Francis Xavier Church in Bejai, Mangaluru, on Saturday, prior to the burial ritual.

The burial of ashes of former Defence minister George Fernandes was carried out at the cemetery of St Francis Xavier Church in Bejai, Mangaluru, on Saturday afternoon, after a prayer service was held at the church at 3.30 pm.

George’s younger brother Michael Fernandes, a former MLA and MLC had fetched the ashes from Delhi.

The ashes of George was sealed in a vessel and was placed in a wooden casket. The casket was later buried in the grave as per the Roman Catholic ritual. Bejai Church priest Fr Wilson Vitus D’Souza initiated the rituals.

Speaking to the media, Michael said that one third of the ashes was buried in Delhi. One third has been buried in Bejai which is the native of George. The remaining part was further divided into three parts to be received by Tibetans, trade union leaders and his political associates and also his admirers in Muzaffarpur and Nalanda in Bihar, the constituencies which were represented by George Fernandes. The mortal remains of the demised was cremated in Delhi on Thursday.

Michael said that George himself wanted his body to be cremated. He had expressed the wish during the funeral of his brother Lawrence Fernandes.

Friend recollects

One of the close friends of George Fernandes, Advocate and Notary Clarence Pais spoke to DH and recalled his association and George.

“George and I were born in respective houses on either side of the road now known as the Bejai New Road. George and myself were members of the Altar boy’s Sodality in St Francis Xavier’s Church in Bejai. George was a  born fighter,” Pais said.

Pais said that George Fernandes played a role in an amendment to the Indian Succession Act. Under the amendment the 2.5 crore of Indian Christians were exempted from the scourge of a legal requirement.

Earlier, Christian Wills could not be looked into without getting Probate of their Wills through the District Court and the process was costly. Probate duty had to be paid. In addition, the litigation had to be started by filing a probate application on paying heavy probate duty, thus delaying the process, Advocate Pais said.

“When I approached George in his Delhi residence, he introduced me to the then Law Minister Arun Jaitley who readily conceded our request and introduced the amendment bill in the Parliament. The then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee signed the bill and the same was approved unanimously in the parliament. As a result, 2.5 crores of Indian Christians were exempted from the Draconian Law which required Probate of Indian Christian Wills,” Pais recalled and added that George also helped Fr Muller’s Hospital in getting clearance to start the medical college.