The burial of the remains of COVID victims in Sri Lanka will be allowed only if the Expert Committee appointed by the Health Ministry approves it, State Minister for Primary Healthcare, Epidemics, and COVID Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle told Parliament today (11).
Despite Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa informing Parliament yesterday (10) that the burial of COVID victims will be permitted, the State Minister said the final decision is in the hands of the Expert Committee.
State Minister Dr. Fernandopulle said that the Health Ministry’s Expert Committee is vested with the powers to take decisions on COVID-related matters and so the decision on burials will also be taken based on the recommendations of the Expert Committee.
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader Rauff Hakeem slammed the State Minister and the Health Ministry, questioning if their powers went beyond the Prime Minister, who is entitled to make decisions on behalf of the State and its citizens.
Pointing out that the Prime Minister had made a categorical statement in Parliament announcing that burials will be permitted, he said the mature decision has been made by a very mature politician, understanding the predicaments of the country, minorities, and issues surrounding reconciliation.
“The burial issue has been repeatedly pushed back to the same Expert Committee. This Committee consists of pseudo scientists. They are incapable of taking a decision on the matter. The Muslim community has staged many agitations in this regard,” he said.
He said the Prime Minister has decided on permitting burials, and and questioned as to whose powers were beyond that of the Prime Minister.
Stating that authorities must act on the Prime Minister’s decision, MP Hakeem questioned as to who in the Health Ministry’s Expert Committee was blocking this decision, causing racial tensions in the country.
The SLMC Leader further urged the Government to refrain from dragging the issue further and to take a mature decision in this regard. (Colombo Gazette)