The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has accused the Government of attempting to use the burial of Muslim Covid victims to create rifts among the communities in Sri Lanka.
Speaking to reporters today, SJB MP Mujibur Rahman said the Gazette permitting burials in Sri Lanka was issued two weeks ago.
He said Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunwardena announced the selection of Iranaitivu island in the Gulf of Mannar as the burial ground one week later.
MP Mujibur Rahman said the decision has now caused further issues with residents objecting to the Government’s announcement.
Pointing out that the Government had earlier refused to permit burials despite the World Health Organization and various experts advising to grant permission, MP Rahman said it is suspected that if the Government had used the issues surrounding burials as a key factor for the benefit of its governance.
He said it is evident that the Government which strongly opposed burials, was forced to eventually permit burials, as the matter had gained the attention of the citizens as well as the international community.
The Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP however, expressed further doubt, stating that despite the Government approving burials, questions have been raised on the Government’s process to implement the decision.
MP Mujibar Rahman further said many lands within the country fit the criteria issued for the selection of burial grounds by the technical committee of the Health Ministry.
Stating that these lands could be found anywhere in Colombo, Southern Province, North-Eastern Province and even in the upcountry, he said these burial grounds are already in existence in various parts of Sri Lanka and could be utilised for this purpose.
He questioned as to why the Government had selected an island, when there was ample land within the country.
The SJB MP said they suspect this was done so to create racial tensions among the communities in the country, which has already commenced with the residents of Iranaitivu engaging in a protest against conducting burials on the island.
MP Mujibur Rahman pointed out that the Government was continuously delaying the burial of Covid victims in Sri Lanka, and it is suspected if they are using this issue as a key factor to enforce their governing power and to create more racial tensions between communities.
He said the Samagi Jana Balawegaya as the main Opposition party in the country calls on the Government to fulfill its promise and to carry out its responsibility. (Colombo Gazette)