Leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) and former Parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen joined by several former Muslim Parliamentarians filed a Fundamental Rights Petition in the Supreme Court today challenging the rules followed to dispose the bodies of suspected Muslim victims of COVID-19, which they allege is done contrary to the method practised by followers of the Islamic faith.
Bathiudeen has cited the Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Director General of Health Services of the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, and the Attorney General as respondents.
Former MPs Seyed Ameer Ali (former ACMC MP), Abdullah Mohamed Mahroof (former ACMC MP), and Hussein Ahamed Bhaila (former Deputy Minister of External Affairs 2007-2010) are the other Petitioners.
ACMC Leader Bathiudeen in his filing said the Petitioners were making the application both in their own personal interest as well as in public interest, adding that in light of the fact that there is no danger in carrying out burials, which is practised by several other countries where COVID-19 death rates are very high.
Bathiudeen said that since March there have been occasions when the remains of a person who died in the context of the virus had been disposed of by the Government of Sri Lanka in exclusion of the right of the deceased or his or her relatives right to choose a mode of disposal of the cadaver in the context of the virus.
So far there have been nine (09) deaths reported from COVID-19. Bathiudeen said there has been some uncertainty as to whether the 9th person who died in fact died of COVID-19.
The petition also notes that the World Health Organization published interim guidance for the Infection Prevention and Control for the safe management of a dead body in the context of COVID-19. (Colombo Gazette)