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Allah Ditta in burial ground row - audio
A COUNCILLOR threatened to dig up the dead body of a Worcester man during a row with his grieving family over the grave.
Allah Ditta , a former city mayor, was secretly recorded launching a tirade of abuse at the Muslim cemetery in Perdiswell.
In the recording, he threatened to “get the digger” and pull out the body unless the family paid £400 towards the maintenance of a grave for Monuhor Ali, who died aged 74 in June.
Mr Ali, a father-of-seven and former factory worker, who lived in Arboretum Road, died of heart failure.
His son Ruhal Hussain, 41, has been tending to his dad’s grave almost every day and was paying a visit to the site last Friday when he was stopped by Coun Ditta.
He said: “He handed me a £400 bill the previous time I saw him there and I haven’t paid it as I’ve got no idea what it is for. He came over shouting and swearing, but then it got even worse and he was screaming ‘I’ll get the digger’ and was actually threatening to dig up my dad’s body and pull it out.
“It was sick, I felt violated. We were left shocked and devastated. I was very upset at first but now I’m just angry – it’s no way for someone in that position to behave.”
Coun Ditta, a Conservative, is chairman of the Worcester Muslim Cemetery Committee, a volunteer-based group that manages the site on behalf of the Worcester Muslim Welfare Association.
The family say they have paid £625 for burial fees and another £875 to a funeral director, but will not pay the £400 as they believe the claim is not for genuine work.
In the recording, Mr Hussain is heard to say: “We’ve paid the council a cheque, we don’t owe you anything”, to which Coun Ditta responds: “I’ll get a digger and dig it up. I’ll dig it out, I’m telling you.”
He then shouts: “From now on, you’ll get no body buried here.”
Nazrul Islam, 35, a family friend who was there at the time, said: “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – it was shocking.”
The family say they recorded the conversation as they had been involved with difficult conversations with him before.
The cemetery, which was built in the 1970s, is leased by the city council to Worcester Muslim Welfare Association. The city council does burial work at the site on behalf of the association.
The family also reported the altercation to the police but were told it was a civil matter.
When contacted by the Worcester News , Coun Ditta said: “I’ve had to do some work around the grave and they’ve been invoiced in good faith, but haven’t paid.
“I’ve told them, ‘If you don’t pay the alternative is, you dig your dad up and take his body elsewhere’.”
Haris Saleem, chairman of the Worcester Muslim Welfare Association, said he believed the bill was genuine.
“There’s clearly been a rift here, which is very sad,” he said.
“I don’t know what has been said or not said, but nobody will be digging a body out – that would be morally and lawfully wrong.”
Both Worcester City Council and its leader Coun Simon Geraghty, who is also leader of the city’s Conservative group, declined to comment.
- Listen to the recording below. Warning: Bad language .