Concerns raised in Parliament over forced cremations

Concerns were raised in Parliament today over forced cremations which commenced yesterday.

Parliamentarian Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam raised the matter in Parliament and warned that it may raise tensions in Sri Lanka.

He said that arbitrary decisions may also provoke families to avoid reporting coronavirus patients fearing they will not be able to ensure a proper burial for their loved ones.

Ponnambalam said that in Islam burning the dead is seen as punishment and so the authorities must reconsider the decision not to allow the burial of coronavirus victims.

He also noted that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has stood for the rights of the global Muslim population, must intervene in this matter.

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader Rauff Hakeem warned that forced cremations will have serious implications.

He noted that there is already a resistance to forced cremations with families refusing to accept the bodies.

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) yesterday began cremating the bodies of unclaimed coronavirus victims.

Most of the bodies are of Muslims who family members have refused to accept as the authorities are refusing to allow them to be buried.

Attorney General (AG) Dappula de Livera had earlier informed the Health Ministry that unclaimed bodies of coronavirus victims can be cremated.

Responding to advise sought on the matter,  the AG has told the Director General of Health Asela Gunawardena that the bodies can be cremated in terms of the Quarantine Regulations.

The Government had sought the Attorney General’s advise on cremating unclaimed bodies of Covid victims. (Colombo Gazette)

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