Sri Lanka’s Muslims demonstrated successful Colombo Tuesday demanding an extremity to forced cremations of Covid-19 victims arsenic Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived connected an authoritative visit.
Dozens of Muslims carried a mock janazah, oregon coffin, denouncing the Sri Lankan government’s argumentation of banning burials of microorganism victims disregarding their ceremonial rites.
The objection was aimed astatine the sojourn of Khan who 2 weeks agone had weighed successful connected the plight of Muslims successful Sri Lanka.
Khan had welcomed an announcement by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa connected February 10 that burials would beryllium allowed, but a time aboriginal Colombo backtracked and said determination would beryllium nary alteration successful the cremation-only policy.
“Respect Prime Minister’s connection and let burials,” said a banner carried by the demonstrators who assembled astatine an unfastened abstraction successful beforehand of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office.
His authorities has rejected planetary pleas and recommendations from its ain experts to let Muslims to hide their dormant successful enactment with Islamic custom.
The authorities archetypal banned burials successful April amid concerns — which experts accidental are baseless — by influential Buddhist monks that burying bodies could contaminate groundwater and dispersed the virus.
The World Health Organization has said determination is nary specified risk, recommending some burial and cremation of microorganism victims.
Sri Lanka’s bulk Buddhists, who are beardown backers of the existent government, are typically cremated, arsenic are Hindus.
In December, the authorities ordered the forced cremation of astatine slightest 19 Muslim Covid-19 victims, including a baby, aft their families refused to assertion their bodies from a infirmary morgue.
This stoked dismay and choler among the Muslim community, moderates and abroad, with the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation repeatedly expressing concern.
There person been ongoing tensions betwixt Muslims and the bulk Sinhalese — who are mostly Buddhists — since the deadly 2019 Easter bombings carried retired by section jihadists.
Muslim assemblage leaders accidental much than fractional the 450 Covid-19 victims were from the Muslim number which accounts for conscionable 10 percent of the 21 cardinal population.
Muslims person a disproportionate fig of fatalities due to the fact that they don’t question treatment, fearing they volition beryllium cremated if they are diagnosed with the virus, they person said.