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Hakeem calls cremation of Muslim COVID19 victim “reprehensible”

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem is condemning the fact that the remains of a Muslim man, the second person to die from COVID 19, were cremated as it is against the teachings of the Islamic faith.

The former Minister in a posting today on Facebook said it is “unfortunate, regrettable and of course reprehensible that the Janaza of the Negombo Victim of the COVID 19 virus had been cremated without permitting the burial as is ordained in our faith.”

The 64-year-old victim died at Negombo Hospital after being transferred from a private hospital. He was confirmed as having the disease just a day before.

A resident of Kochchikade, the patient had been transferred to the Negombo Base hospital from a private facility.

Standard Operating Procedures sent out to Judicial Medical Officers in the second week of March laid out strict guidelines for the disposal of the bodies of people who die from COVID 19. They included restrictions on the viewing of the body, a ban on public funerals and compulsory cremation. Burial was not given as an option in the original circular.

However, on Sunday, the Director-General of Health Services Dr Anil Jasinghe told reporters that “burial is permitted as long as the grave is 8 feet deep and the water table is not high where it could be contaminated.”

Hakeem said he “tried our best in whatever manner possible in the given circumstances to get higher political and medical authorities to intervene to prevent the hurried cremation.”

Hakeem in his post said:  “We are told that burial 10 feet below ground level was not possible due to the high water table and possible seepage of water into the grave.”

He added that subsequent arrangements to bury the body at Maligawatte burial grounds in Colombo also fell through after the request to transport the Janaza to Colombo had apparently been refused by the JMO. (Colombo, March 31, 2020)






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