Row Over Sri Lanka Plan To Bury Muslim COVID-19 Victims On Islet
A plan by Sri Lanka to bury Muslim coronavirus victims on a distant islet was slammed on Wednesday by locals and the minority group.
Colombo banned burials of Covid-19 victims in April, regardless of professional assurances they might not unfold the virus, implementing a coverage of pressured cremations.
Sri Lanka’s Muslims, who make up 10 per cent of its 21 million individuals, challenged the coverage, mentioning that cremations are forbidden below Islamic regulation.
The coverage was revoked final week after a go to from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who urged Colombo to respect Muslims’ spiritual funeral rites.
And on Tuesday, officers proposed burying Muslim virus victims on the distant islet of Iranaitivu, 8.6 miles (13 kilometres) off the nation’s northern coast.
That plan sparked protests from locals in addition to from Muslim leaders. On Wednesday dozens of Tamil residents, led by Catholic monks, demonstrated in Kilinochchi, the closest mainland district to Iranaitivu.
They held banners saying the one-square-kilometre (0.4-square-mile) island shouldn’t be used as a “graveyard” for the pandemic.
The primary Muslim occasion, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), mentioned households “wish to bury our individuals in our personal burial grounds”.
“This proposal of a distant island is an insult, it’s unacceptable,” SLMC chief Rauff Hakeem instructed AFP.
The islet burials coverage has but to be rolled out.
Forward of Khan’s go to to Colombo, the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in February criticised the cremations coverage on the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, citing related spiritual considerations.
Sri Lanka’s majority Buddhists, robust backers of the present authorities, are sometimes cremated, as are Hindus.
In December, authorities ordered the cremation of at the least 19 Muslim Covid-19 victims after their households refused to assert the our bodies from a hospital morgue in protest in opposition to the coverage.
By Wednesday, Sri Lanka had recorded greater than 83,000 coronavirus infections, with 483 associated deaths.
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