PM says burial of COVID victims will be allowed

Permission will be granted for the burial of the remains of COVID victims in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told Parliament today (10).

The Prime Minister made the announcement when questions were raised on the Government’s rejection of burials, which is practiced in other countries.

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP S.M. Marikkar pointed out that State Minister of Primary Healthcare, Epidemics, and COVID Disease Control, (Dr.) Sudarshini Fernandopulle had informed Parliament yesterday (9) that COVID-19 does not spread through water.

Citing this statement, MP Marikkar questioned the Government under what grounds it was still refusing to grant permission for the burial of the remains of COVID victims in the country.

The Prime Minister responded saying permission will be granted.

Concerns have been repeatedly raised over the forced cremation of Muslim COVID victims in Sri Lanka. The Opposition, civil society, and various other groups have called on the Government to stop such forced cremations.

The Muslim community had pointed out that cremation was against their religious beliefs, and called on the Government to permit burials in line with the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with regard to COVID-19 and practiced world over.

The matter was also expected to be raised at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva during its upcoming session. (Colombo Gazette)