23 June, 2024


Derana Campaign Against Prof. Jennifer Perera Revealed: Experts Committee Recommendation On Burial Of Covid Victims Irks Govt

A leaked copy of the Committee of Experts appointed by the Government to make recommendations on whether it was safe to bury victims of Covid-19 has explained a relentless campaign against the chair of the committee, Professor Jennifer Perera.

Prof. Jennifer Perera

Professor Perera is chair of the department of microbiology at Colombo University’s Medical Faculty.

A copy of the report that leaked on social media earlier this week revealed that the Prof. Perera’s committee was recommending both burials and cremations as being appropriate in the case of Covid-19 related deaths, provided adherence to certain safety protocols for disposal. The Committee recommended that the bodies be disposed within 24 hours and placed within a double layered body bag prior to being placed in a coffin. The Committee also determined that there was no evidence that the virus could be transmitted by cadavers coming into contact with ground water, a myth rolled out by pro-Government experts and Buddhist monks in a bid to justify the regime’s forcible cremation of Muslims who die of Covid-19. The committee was set up on December 24, 2020 to provide its recommendations on the controversial disposal issue, as outrage grew both locally and internationally over the Government’s refusal to review its mandatory cremation policy.

Over the past week before the report became public domain, several Buddhist monks were rolled out to criticize Professor Perera’s credentials especially on the Derana network. The Buddhist clergy split hairs over Professor Perera’s scientific specialty, claiming that as a bacteriologist, she could not proffer expertise on Covid-19, a virus. Other hardline monks have insisted that despite the experts report cremation was the only method to dispose of Covid-19 victims. Government Minister Dilum Amunugama hit back against the now public report on Saturday, saying no matter what the experts said, it would be the government that makes the decision on burial Vs. cremation. World renowned Sri Lankan virologists have offered similar opinions on the thorny issue, insisting that burial of covid-19 victims was perfectly safe, to no avail with the Government that has refused to change the policy.

The Government is acutely conscious that the forced cremations issue is fuelling emotions in their rabidly nationalist electoral base against the Muslim community, which is being portrayed as unreasonable and irresponsible over its demand for burial rights, political observers told Colombo Telegraph. Government affiliated media and propaganda units have amplified the issue and widened the rift, the observers told Colombo Telegraph.

The Derana media network is owned by high net worth businessman and media tycoon, Dilith Jayaweera. Jayaweera is Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s staunchest loyalist and the brain-trust of the Gotabaya candidacy and campaign.

Jayaweera’s advertising agency Triad and its affiliated social media teams were behind the monumental PR and image building campaign that portrayed the former Defence Secretary-Lieutenant Colonel-Software Engineer-711 Franchise owner as a clinically efficient administrator and political outsider who could become the Lee Kwan Yu of Sri Lanka. His broadcast network Derana, with its formidable islandwide reach, played a vital role in propagating that image of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the antithesis of the Yahapalanaya administration that was fraught with dysfunction and mismanagement. When the former Defence Secretary had been indicted in the High Court on charges of corruption and financial misappropriation, was under investigation for money laundering by multiple law enforcement agencies and facing murder charges in the United States, Jayaweera wielded his media empire with exceeding skill. The Derana network and its affiliates regularly discrediting police investigators and judicial processes against Rajapaksa and playing up his band of “intellectuals” and professionals in the Viyathmaga who would set and execute policy under a Gotabaya Rajapaksa presidency. Political insiders said Jayaweera’s efforts were so well-designed and successful that Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the SLPP candidacy to contest the 2019 presidential election in spite of grave reservations within the party, including his own brother and political patron, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Over the course of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa presidency, Jayaweera’s media empire has taken on a greater Goebbelsian role to prop up the Government and its agenda, at times even protecting it from its own, as is the case of the experts committee on Covid-19 victims disposal. The network’s reach, especially in areas where alternative news sources are limited, has made it an unassailable weapon in the Government’s propaganda arsenal. Despite repeated ethical and regulatory violations by the network, including its propensity to incite hatred against minority communities and spread Islamophobia and fake news, the Yahapalanaya Government failed to act against the powerful media mogul and his empire in their five years of rule. “Instead Yahapalanaya leaders actually cozied up to Dilith Jayaweera, and even gave his advertising agency political campaigns to manage for the UNP at a price of hundreds of millions of rupees. Dilith’s role in stock market manipulation and the infamous pump and dump schemes were never investigated properly because they were afraid of alienating Derana. They never understood that Dilith was always Gota’s man, through and through,” a former UNP backbencher told Colombo Telegraph. Actor turned politician Ranjan Ramanayake was the only one who ever called Derana out on its antics, but he was repeatedly hushed up and admonished by the UNP leadership for taking those positions, the backbencher added. (By Chinthika De Silva)

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Latest comments

  • 9

    Police seek public assistance to locate escaped coronavirus-infected inmates Five inmates of the Negombo Prison who were under medical care for coronavirus infection had escaped from the treatment centre in the early hours of December 31.,

    Is not contagious for the public finding inmates, that can transmit the virus to 100 or more, and none has found that the buried body can spread,or virus escaped from such bodies if it is possible to control the the escaped infected why cant the same from the buried bodies

    • 6

      Dear Prof. Perera,

      I have a pertinent question as to why your colleagues in and out of the country not yet vocal about the facts on COVID 19. Those who fall on the tricks being played by Rajaakshes – seem to be stand still when UKRANIANS travel across the country wihhtout pre-checks being done on COVID 19 ?

      And I dont think you are the only senior microbiologist in the country. What happened to your COLLEAGUES in other universities ?

      Not GMOA but you the kind of experts should hold regular forum on the ” containment of COVID 19/flattening the curve” in the country. Why is that facts and figures of COVID 19 being treated with KUDAMMAGE saelakili yet in the country.
      And innocient people are constantly being misled by FAKE headlines telecasted by Derana TV, Hiru TV and numerous youtube TV channels.
      Besides, the knowledge based on FACTs should not be less as was the period in which Malaria was a greater threat. Today at least 40% of the population is accessed to INTERNT – meaning it is no easy to fool them.
      Surprisingly, even those ones are accessed to INTERNET/GOOGLE were seen in the crowds gathered to collect ” PANI BEEMA”

    • 4


      Islamic authorities in other countries where Muslims make up a sizable share of the population, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, have already ruled that coronavirus vaccines are permissible, even if they contain pork gelatin, which is used to stabilize many inoculations.

  • 32

    I would expect the Academic community to stand by Prof: Jennifer Perera and her Team.
    This country has descended to the point of playing politics EVEN with the Covid-19 Pandemic.
    Viyathmaga,of-course is a Political outfit!

    • 7

      Dearest Plato,

      would that ever help so long thugs in power would not let the public perception be based on the facts ?

      Prof. Kovur had made it very clear, it is the nature of the majority also in 60ties. They would go after KALIAMMA so long Rajapakshes would not keep them in dark through their PACHAWAHINIS. If there are any kind of invisible forces, they should work on destroying ” those pachwahinis” which are standing on the way, keeping the very same gallery in dark.

      • 8

        It should be so long Rajakashe thugs would keep them in dark through Derana TV.

    • 15

      Viyathmaga is smeared by that FAKE Prof. Pissu Jayasumana.
      Alone his take part introducing Kaliamma controlled PANI maker is absurd.

  • 7

    I am neither phobic nor a bigot. This pandemic is ravaging the world for more than a year without yet to find a handle to grip it. It does not make sense for a small bunch of loonies to insist on putting in mortal danger a larger part of the population since the world is in a state of blur.

    • 13

      thi s not the first ever pandemic the world experienced.
      Previous pandemies were not settled by Kali amma or Rajaakshes or the like men but science/medicine.

      The very same manner, VACCINES will handle it sooner than later.
      Please take good care of you – that is all what I can say, me being well aware of the bits related to VACCINATION process in Europe.

  • 12

    I am still waitting for my answers , you said Supersticios verses, I wanted you to tell me which verses ,2 ) I also requested to tell me of your faith, you ignored both and responded asking me a question.
    And btw if anyother challenge is yet on your mind , please be my host, reserve a comfortable aircon place and you pay for it and as long as its anywhere in Sri lanka , I will take you on.
    If not pls do not throw the term challenge at me hidding behind the keyboard.
    I take the word challenge very Seriouslly..
    Note .
    I do not accept you to believe in my above narratives, but I expect some respect , which is expected basically by any
    decent humanbeing with ethics

    Further if a situation is proved that the dead.body can not be burried with valid reasons and not prejudise,.we have the fourth step ,
    1) Commandment,
    2) Examples from.God,
    3) Examples of The Prophet &
    4) using independent reasoning when a clear answer can not be found in any of the above.

  • 18

    Boycott – “Derana Moda” – Radio

  • 13

    Always speak the truth. Because truth is permanent.


  • 6

    According to a new study from the Australian Center for Disease Preparation, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can survive on the surface for up to 28 days (including plastics).
    To date, there is no scientifically proven information on how long the corona virus survives in a COVID-19 infected dead body.
    In April 2020, a forensic worker in Bangkok, Thailand, was infected with the COVID-19 virus from a dead body which is the first case of its kind in the world.
    The World Health Organization says that health workers or the families of the dead should not touch the corpse. Why? This is because people are at risk of infection by body fluids and tissues in COVID-19 infected dead bodies.
    Finally, I would like to point out that the precautions recommended by the Experts Committee do not prevent the contamination of soil and water by COVID-19 infected body fluids.

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