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Friday August 19th, 2022

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)

Your email address will not be published.

  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 schedules 3-hour power cuts for Aug 20, 21: regulator

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will impose power cuts of up to three hours on Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21, Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said.

All areas (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V and W) will have power cuts of 1 hours and 40 minutes between 10.30 am and 06.00 pm and 1 hour 20 minutes from 06.00pm to 10.00 pm.

Click here for a detailed schedule.

The state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said supply interruption time and restoration time will vary within 30 minutes as indicated above.

Sri Lanka’s daily scheduled power cuts that were reduced to one hour in July with power generation from hydro power plants contributing more than 50 percent to the main grid reducing thermal power plant use was extended to three hours last week due to a breakdown at the Norochcholai coal power plant.

According to officials, the breakdown happened in Unit 1 of Norochcholai which will take around two weeks to repair.

The Minister of Power & Energy said Unit 2 is undergoing scheduled maintenance work while Unit 3 will continue to operate. West Coast and other fuel power pPlants will be used to manage the supply, the ministry said. (Colombo/Aug02/2022)

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Sri Lanka guidance peg edges T-bond yield edge down

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions edged down on Friday (19), while yields in Treasury bonds picked up slightly and in T-bill remain unquoted in dull trade, a day after the Central Bank announced the policy rates will remain stable, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01. 06. 2025 closed at 27.95/28.05 percent on Friday, slightly up from 27.90/28.00 percent on Thursday.

No T-bills were quoted on Friday, dealers said.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s central bank announced a guidance peg for interbank transactions further weakened by three cents to 361.00 rupees against the US dollar on Friday from 360.97 rupees.

Data showed that commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers between 368.00 and 370.00 for small transactions.  (Colombo/ Aug 19/2022)

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Sri Lanka records 10 new COVID-19 deaths in 48 hours as case numbers rise

ECONOMYNEXT –  Sri Lanka recorded 10 COVID-19 deaths in the 48 hours from August 17 to 19 taking the country’s pandemic death toll to 16,640, health ministry data showed.

Sri Lanka is experiencing a slight increase in COVID-19 cases with the relaxation of public health restrictions relating to face masks and public gatherings.

Health authorities said the situation will be monitored constantly and have asked the general public to continue to follow basic hygiene measures in order to control the spread of the virus again in the community.

In August alone 2,924 new cases were recorded in Sri Lanka, with 84 deaths attributed to the disease.

So far in 2022, from January onward, health authorities have identified 81,157 patients to date.

Epidemiology unit data showed that 874 patients are currently receiving treatment, out of which 716 are receiving home based care.

The spread of the virus has increased with the use of public transport rising after an easing of a fuel crisis.

Sri Lanka is also facing difficulties in securing essential medicine supplies for the health sector due to a forex shortage.

Health officials said if the number of COVID-19 patients rise to a level the health sector cannot manage,  with the added issues of fuel and medical shortages, the health system might collapse.

“It is the responsibility of us all. There is no use trying to forcibly control people. We all have the responsibility to reduce or stop the spread of the virus before it gets out of control. We have been living with it for the past two years,” Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr Hemantha Herath said. (Colombo/Aug19/2022)

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