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Sunday January 29th, 2023

Powerful Order of Buddhist Monks, Christians and Hindus ask for burial of Covid victims

#Stopforcedcremations – Demonstrations against the forced cremations of Muslims who die of Covid have popped up across the North and East

ECONOMYNEXT – One of the country’s biggest Chapter of Buddhist Monks the joint Amarapura-Ramanna sect is asking President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to permit the burial of the remains of Christians and Muslims who die of Covid 19.

This is the first time that a major group of Buddhist Monks have taken a stand to allow burials since the controversy broke in April. A letter sent to the President is also signed by the former Bishop of the Methodist Church Fr Asiri Perera, Fr Jayalath Balagalle from the Roman Catholic Ampitiya Seminary and Kurukukkal P Sivaloganathan of the Sanatana Dharma Research centre.

Signed by the joint Registrars of the Amarapura and Ramanna sects, the letter addressed to the President says the decision to send the appeal to the head of state was made after lengthy discussions with the sect’s Inter-religious Sub-Committee.

The letter noted that the burial of dead bodies is a revered “religious practice including Islam and Christianity” and this right is protected by the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

However, the letter added that this right is subject to restrictions subject to public health.

It said that the decision issued by a gazette notification on April 11 this year making cremation mandatory was taken soon after the outbreak of the pandemic and “we believe it was a precautionary measure taken due to the lack of biological knowledge” about the Covid 19 virus.

The letter went on to say that “now after more than 8 months later, and with a considerable body of research available about the nature of the Covid 19 virus, and results indicating that there is no danger of this virus spreading by the burial of Covid 19 dead bodies, we are of the opinion that there is no justification for the mandatory cremation of those who have died of Covid 19.”

“At this time we take the view that the burials of those who have died due to Covid 19 infection should be allowed subject to certain conditions which would adequately protect the health of the people on one side and the religious practices of the Muslims, Catholics and other religious groups,” the letter asserted.

The letter suggested that the bodies could be buried in concrete or other impervious containers and could be monitored to assure the authorities that it is safe.

The Sects also appealed to the President to convene a meeting of experts to seek advice on the matter.

In a separate statement the Registrar of the Sub-committee Dr Madampagama Assaji Thero, Anunayake of the sect said that this would avoid the government having to face an uncomfortable situation and avoid unnecessary unrest within the Muslim community. (Colombo, December 27, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

The statement can be viewed here in full:

Amarapura-Ramanna statement on burial of Muslim and Christian victims of Covid

Comments (7)

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  1. Upali Weerasinghe says:

    I would like to respect Mahayana for timely decision to protect Sri Lankan’s and their cultural interests

  2. Good Sinhalese says:

    A good reason for lifting the ban is provided, maybe sometimes well organized to get rid of the situation, created by chauvinists. Better the government deal with this request rather than to ask for Malwathu and Asgiri Chapters’ permission than to face the music in Geneva in March, and to antagonize the Muslim Countries who had been generally friendly with us.

  3. Gos says:

    As usual, the rightwing opposition politicians have stirred up a right royal stir-up to gain the advantage of minority votes ably helped by extremist funds to create an image to the international bigwigs who will not hesitate to take up their favourite weapon of Human Rights to threaten the Sri Lankan govt. It’s disgusting how dirty politics become the weapon to beat a govt who have so far allowed Health specialists to rule over COVID-19 pandemic threat who decreed that all corpses contaminated with the virus should be cremated. Cremation has affected the loved ones of all religions Buddhists, Christians and Muslims alike but the minority Muslims make the biggest noise despite the danger envisaged by burials. Shame on you

  4. Gamini says:

    Keep things simple guys… follow the guidelines of the WHO, put this issue behind, and concentrate on more pressing issues. We have wasted enough time.

  5. Eric says:

    Patients who die of corona get buried all over the world and I don’t understand the reason in Sri Lanka for this issue drags so long. If some religious group wants to bury their members of same faith the government by now should have come up with a solution . The government can assist these community by providing burial grounds in very dry part of the country away from populated area so that no way any infection can be contaminated with underground water .

  6. Tilak Dewa says:

    Simple issue easily would have easily resolved by sealing the bodies in proper materials before burial. Now it has become a conflict between two communities. It should end immediately or there will be a disaster again. Similar thing happened due to language issue and who paid for that mistake?

  7. Kuruwitage Silva says:

    These Buddhist Monks canvassing for Muslim Burial are paid heavily by Muslim business owners.

View all comments (7)

Comments (7)

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Upali Weerasinghe says:

    I would like to respect Mahayana for timely decision to protect Sri Lankan’s and their cultural interests

  2. Good Sinhalese says:

    A good reason for lifting the ban is provided, maybe sometimes well organized to get rid of the situation, created by chauvinists. Better the government deal with this request rather than to ask for Malwathu and Asgiri Chapters’ permission than to face the music in Geneva in March, and to antagonize the Muslim Countries who had been generally friendly with us.

  3. Gos says:

    As usual, the rightwing opposition politicians have stirred up a right royal stir-up to gain the advantage of minority votes ably helped by extremist funds to create an image to the international bigwigs who will not hesitate to take up their favourite weapon of Human Rights to threaten the Sri Lankan govt. It’s disgusting how dirty politics become the weapon to beat a govt who have so far allowed Health specialists to rule over COVID-19 pandemic threat who decreed that all corpses contaminated with the virus should be cremated. Cremation has affected the loved ones of all religions Buddhists, Christians and Muslims alike but the minority Muslims make the biggest noise despite the danger envisaged by burials. Shame on you

  4. Gamini says:

    Keep things simple guys… follow the guidelines of the WHO, put this issue behind, and concentrate on more pressing issues. We have wasted enough time.

  5. Eric says:

    Patients who die of corona get buried all over the world and I don’t understand the reason in Sri Lanka for this issue drags so long. If some religious group wants to bury their members of same faith the government by now should have come up with a solution . The government can assist these community by providing burial grounds in very dry part of the country away from populated area so that no way any infection can be contaminated with underground water .

  6. Tilak Dewa says:

    Simple issue easily would have easily resolved by sealing the bodies in proper materials before burial. Now it has become a conflict between two communities. It should end immediately or there will be a disaster again. Similar thing happened due to language issue and who paid for that mistake?

  7. Kuruwitage Silva says:

    These Buddhist Monks canvassing for Muslim Burial are paid heavily by Muslim business owners.

Sri Lanka operators seek higher renewable tariffs, amid exchange rate expectations

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s renewable companies say they need tariff of 40 to 45 rupees a unit to sell power to the Ceylon Electricity Board and the agency owes them tens of billions of rupees for power sold in the past.

The association has strong exchange rate expectations based on the country’s dual anchor conflicting monetary regimes involving flexible inflation targeting with a reserve collecting target.

“In the coming year of course because of the rupee devaluation, I think the solar energy sector might require tariffs closer to RS 40 or RS 45, hydropower will also require tariffs on that scale,” Prabath Wickremasinghe President of the Small hydropower Developers Association told reporters.

“I think right now what they pay us is averaging around RS 15 to RS 20.”

Some of the earlier plants are paid only 9 rupees a unit, he said. The association there is potential to develop around 200 Mega Watts of mini hydros, 700 to 1000MW of ground mounted soar and about 1,000 rooftop solar.

In addition to the rupee collapse, global renewable energy costs are also up, in the wake of higher oil prices in the recent past and energy disruption in Europe.

The US Fed and the ECB have tightened monetary policy and global energy and food commodity price are now easing.

However in a few years the 40 to 45 rupee tariffs will look cheap, Wickremesinghe pointed out, given the country’s monetary policy involving steep depreciation.

From 2012 to 2015 the rupee collapsed from 113 to 131 to the US dollar. From 2015 to 2019 the rupee collapsed from 131 to 182 under flexible inflation targeting cum exchange rate as the first line of defence where the currency is deprecated instead of hiking rates and halting liquidity injections.

From 2020 to 2022 the rupee collapsed from 182 to 360 under output gap targeting (over stimulus) and exchange rate as the first line of defence.

“The tariffs are paid in rupees,” Wickremasinghe said. With the rupee continuing to devalue in other 5 years 40 rupees will look like 20 rupees.”

Sri Lanka has the worst central bank in South Asia after Pakistan. Both central banks started with the rupee at 4.70 to the US dollars, derived from the Reserve Bank of India, which was set up as a private bank like the Bank of England.

India started to run into forex shortages after the RBI was nationalized and interventionist economic bureaucrats started to run the agency. Sri Lanka’s and Pakistan’s central bank were run on discretionary principles by economic bureaucrats from the beginning.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka was set up with a peg with gold acting as the final restraint on economic bureaucrats, but it started to depreciated steeply from 1980 as the restraint was taken away.

Now under so-called ‘exchange rate as the first line of defence’ whenever the currency comes under pressure due to inflationary policy (liquidity injections to target an artificially low policy rate or Treasuries yields) the currency is depreciated instead of allowing rates to normalize.

Eventually rates also shoot up, as attempts are made to stabilize the currency which collapses from ‘first line of defence’ triggering downgrades along the way.

After the currency collapse, the Ceylon Electricity Board, finances are shattered and it is unable to pay renewable operators.

Unlike the petroleum, which has to stop delivery as it runs out of power, renewable operators continue to deliver as their domestic value added is higher.

However they also have expenses including salaries of staff to pay.

The CEB which is also running higher losses after the central bank printed money and triggered a currency collapse, has not settled renewable producers.

“In the meantime, we have financial issues with the investors and CEB owns more than 45 million rupees in the industry,” Warna Dahanayaka, Secretary of Mini Hydro Association, said at the conference.

“We can’t sustain because we can’t pay the salaries and we can’t sustain also because of the bank loans. Therefore, we are requesting the government to take the appropriate action for this matter.”

Sri Lanka and Pakistan have identical issues in the power sector including large losses, circular debt, subsidies due to depreciating currencies.

In Sri Lanka there is strong support from the economists outside government for inflationary policy and monetary instability.

The country’s exporters, expatriate workers, users of unofficial gross settlement systems, budget deficits and interbank forex dealers in previous crises have been blamed for monetary instability rather than the unworkable impossible trinity regime involving conflicting domestic (inflation target) and external targets (foreign reserves).

The country has no doctrinal foundation in sound money and there is both fear of floating and hard peg phobia among opinion leaders on both sides of the spectrum regardless of whether they are state or private sector like any Latin American country, critics say.

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