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No official statement yet regarding permitting burial of Covid dead

ECONOMYNEXT – There is yet no official statement confirming that the regulations stipulating the mandatory cremation of the remains of all Covid 19 victims have been amended to include burial although an amended gazette was circulated on social media.

The decision by the Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi confirming the decision comes in the wake of a strong statement from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) at the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva deploring the decision by the government of Sri Lanka to forcibly cremate the remains of all Covid 19 deceased.

The statement delivered by the Secretary-General of the OIC placed Sri Lankan Muslims alongside the Muslims of Palestine as groups discriminated against because of their faith.

Media reported the change of heart of the government by quoting Lands Minister S M Chandrasena.

Sri Lanka is one of two countries in the world that is enforcing the mandatory cremation of the remains of all Covid 19 dead.

The change comes after 331 days where the remains of many Muslims, including a 20 day old baby were cremated.

Cremation is abhorrent to all followers of the Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Sri Lanka has continued to cremate even after a technical committee appointed by the Ministry of Health said burial could be permitted under certain circumstances on December 24, last year.

A statement by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa that burials will be permitted made in Parliament was shot down by back-bench Parliamentarians a few days later at an official press conference held in the Party Headquarters.

They said Rajapaksa, the leader of the ruling Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Peramuna was expressing his personal views. (Colombo, February 26, 2021)

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Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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