Sri Lankans in the West protest over Muslim Covid burials issue

Sri Lankan-Canadians of all faiths joined in protesting forced cremation of Muslims who die of Covid in Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT-Sri Lankans overseas are staging protests in cities in several Western countries against the Sri Lanka government’s forcible cremation of the remains of Muslims who die of Covid 19 infection.

Sri Lanka and China are the only countries in the world who cremate the remains of all victims even if their families object on religious grounds.

Sri Lanka expatriates in Toronto, Canada organized a protest and vehicle parade yesterday against the forced cremation of COVID-19 death in Sri-Lankan Muslims.

The protestors while appreciating the effort by the government to control the pandemic asked President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Health Minister to allow the bodies of the Sri Lankan Muslims to turn to soil in their own country without cremating them.

A similar protest was also held on December 19 in Paris, France at the historic ‘Place de la République (Republic Square) organised by the representatives of the France-Sri Lanka Muslim Association and several other Sri Lankan organisations

A Similar protest against forced cremation of COVID-19 victims will be held in New York City, USA in front of the Sri Lankan UN mission in New York, organised by Voice for Sri Lankan Muslims.

Further, two other protests will be held on December 24 in London, UK in front of British Prime Minister’s office at No 10, Downing Street and in Geneva, Switzerland in front of the UN building.

Meanwhile, Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said the decision by the government to cremate all the bodies of the COVID-19 victims in Sri Lanka was taken without any basis.

In a video statement, the former President broke her silence on the subject point out that many local and foreign scientist and medical specialist has confirmed to her that the coronavirus cannot be spread to the soil or water through the bodies of the COVID victims even if they are buried with a coffin.

She also said that the leadership of the government is acting against the religious beliefs and culture of the Muslim people which they had kept for centuries.

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“Every person has a fundamental right to observe any religion or belief they follow which will not harm others,” she added.

Moreover, she said that in a world which is going forward with science, the government should take decisions based on science, logic and rationality and allow the bodies to be buried.

Also, the daughter of former Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickremanayake and sister of current Minister Vidura Wickremanayake, Dr Tushar Wickremanayake asked the government not to suppress the Muslim people instead of fighting against Muslim terrorism.

She said in 1983, when LTTE which had few members at that time, killed our soldiers and when those bodies were brought to Colombo, the suppression of the innocent Tamil people in Colombo led to thousands of Tamils joining the LTTE and a civil war which lasted for 30 years where we all paid for our acts

She also said that extremism has increased because of the things which are behind the expert knowledge, science and world equality was done with the government support, where even the sympathies aren’t allowed to be expressed.

Further, she said just like the white flag incident at the end of the civil war, regardless whether it is true or not, the whole country was ashamed before the UN and the entire world, so by cremating a 20-day old infant and by removing white bands which were used to express their sorrow, it is giving space for extremism. (Colombo December 21, 2020)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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