Family who lost father claims NEA gave them someone else’s ashes; NEA asserts there was no mix-up

The "suspicious" ashes on the left; the late Mr Subramaniam on the right

A Singaporean family who recently lost their father are suspecting that there was a mix-up at the Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium Complex and have refused to accept the ashes that National Environment Agency (NEA) officials have claimed are their father’s ashes.

According to the Tamil Murasu, the family of the late Mr Chidambaram Murugaiah Subramaniam, 70, were shocked to find metal door hinge pieces in the ashes that were identified as Mr Subramaniam’s as there were no hinges in the coffin he was cremated in and since Mr Subramaniam was cremated in a cover-less coffin.

Mr Subramaniam’s younger brother, 59-year-old Mr Murugaiah Ravi, told reporters that even his brother’s last rites were performed while he was in a coffin without a cover.

The family’s suspicions were further aroused when they noticed the colour of the ashes. Roses were apparently scattered in Mr Subramaniam’s coffin, according to his son, 44-year-old Mr Saravanan Subramaniam. This would typically give ashes a red or pink tint but no such tint was present in the ashes that were offered to Mr Subramaniam’s family.

Distressed, the family refused to accept the ashes that were offered to them and are insisting that there must have been a mix-up.

Mr Saravanan revealed that he has been given an official letter by an NEA assistant director by the name of Andrew Low. The letter states that Mr Subramaniam’s cremation occurred at 6.30pm on Sunday and that his family came to collect his ashes the next day. The letter indicates that Mr Subramaniam’s son refused to accept the ashes after doubting whether the ashes are really his father’s, once he discovered metal pieces in the ashes.

Mr Saravanan has since made a police report over the matter. He expressed grief that he and his family have been unable to complete the remaining rituals they need to perform since they have not received his father’s ashes yet: “We are saddened that we are unable to complete the rituals that are required after our father’s passing. We are confident that we must find a resolution to this situation.”

The NEA has reportedly asserted that there was no mix-up but the family has refused to accept this. The government agency is presently in touch with the family as it conducts further investigations.

The late Mr Subramaniam’s younger brother, Mr Murugaiah Ravi, shows the metal pieces in the ashes
The original news report