1 June, 2020

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Follow WHO Guidance – Respect Burial Rights: Civil Society Urge President

164 Civil Society activists and 17 organisations have today urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to follow WHO guidelines on the disposal of of deceased persons.

Issuing a statement they said: “We also call upon your Excellency to address the country’s greatly distressed Muslims and put to rest their fears that they are somehow being punished, or that the country has little respect for their concerns.” 

We publish below the statement in full:

H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic, Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka 

CC:
Hon. Pavithra Waniarachchi, Minister of Health

Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Director General Health Services
 

Dr. Sudath Samaraweera, Chief Epidemiologist, Epidemiology Unit

Dr. Hasitha Attanayake, Director, Infectious Diseases Hospital

Dr. Ajith Tennakoon, Chief Judicial Medical Officer 

Dr. Deepika Udagama, Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka

Dr. Razia Pendse, WHO Representative to Sri Lanka.

Your Excellency, 

Disposal of bodies of deceased persons who were infected with and suspected of being infected with COVID-19

We write to you as the person leading Sri Lanka’s effort to prevent and deal with COVID-19. 

We, at the outset, would like to express our gratitude to the public officials in Sri Lanka for their contribution towards preventing and dealing with COVID-19, particularly the untiring and selfless service of health sector workers. 

We write with regard to the disposal of bodies of persons who died due to being infected with, and those that died who are suspected of being infected with COVID-19. We were pleased that the Ministry of Health Provisional Clinical Practice Guidelines on COVID 19 Suspected and Confirmed Patients dated 27 March 2020 allowed for burial under certain conditions, and the family of the deceased to view the body at a designated place at the hospital. We were however concerned to learn that an individual of the Muslim faith who died due to COVID-19 was cremated on 30 March 2020 in contravention of the said Ministry of Health Guidelines and against the wishes of the family. 

We note that the Ministry of Health Provisional Clinical Practice Guidelines on COVID 19 Suspected and Confirmed Patients were thereafter amended and the new document dated 31 March 2020 as well as the Ministry of Health (MOH) Circular no EPID/400/2019 n-cov issued on 1 April 2020, which reproduces the amended Guidelines, require that all COVID-19 victims be cremated. We also note contradictory media reports on 2 April 2020 that Cabinet Spokesperson Bandula Gunawardena has stated that the government will adhere to WHO Guidelines in disposing the bodies of those who have died as a result of COVID- 19, as well as the appointment of an expert committee to decide on appropriate and practices to deal with the bodies of those who die due to COVOD-19. 

When we face such a grave public health crisis there is a need to ensure that the mental health of our population is also given due attention. In this regard, the disposal of bodies of persons who died during the pandemic requires particular attention. In the Muslim faith it is required that the dead be buried and cremation is not permitted. The possibility of compulsory cremation therefore is a matter of great distress to practicing Muslims. In these times of distress and uncertainty this is an added stressor that may adversely impact the mental health of large numbers in the population. 

At present, the religious identity of certain victims has been highlighted due to which, in both mainstream and social media, we have seen outpourings of vitriol, and hate speech against Muslims for their actions or inactions in not preventing or causing the spread of COVID-19. In this context, it is important that the decisions made regarding burial are not perceived as punitive measures against such perceived irresponsibility by infected persons. We must also recognize that there is widespread anti Muslim sentiment prevailing in Sri Lanka and has been for the past several years. The negative stereotypes about Muslims were exacerbated by the terror attacks on Easter Sunday in 2019 carried out by an ISIS inspired group of Muslims. It is important to ensure that decisions regarding matters of public health do not result in the persecution or marginalization of the Muslim population. Within such a context, we note with concern that the revised MOH Guidelines dated 31 March 2020 and the aforementioned MOH Circular disregard Muslim religious sensibilities and requirements, and provide no succor to the already distressed. 

In this regard, we urge you to consider the WHO Interim Guidance dated 24 March 2020 on Infection Prevention and Control for the Safe Management of a Dead Body in the Context of COVID-19. The Guidance states that ‘cadavers do not transmit disease’ and that ‘It is a common myth that persons who have died of a communicable disease should be cremated, but this is not true. Cremation is a matter of cultural choice and available resources’. The Guidance further advises the authorities to ‘manage each situation on a case-by-case basis, balancing the rights of the family, the need to investigate the cause of death, and the risks of exposure to infection’. Where disposal is concerned, the Guidance says that ‘People who have died from COVID-19 can be buried or cremated’. We recognize that the option of burial might not be available in certain instances due to legitimate public health requirements such as the depth of graves. To address these concerns, the state could identify suitable burial grounds that meet WHO standards in all districts and request the particular community religious authorities to prepare themselves to adhere to those standards. 

In seeking to ensure the well-being of all Sri Lankans at this difficult time, we highlight the need to also ensure dignity in death. In addition to the issue of Muslim and perhaps Christian burials, we have witnessed that the media is permitted to cover the cremation of those who died from COVID-19 without any consideration of the wishes of the bereaved families. While preserving the health of our population must be paramount, it must not be at the cost of our common humanity and the dignity of our dead. WHO guidelines state that, ‘The dignity of the dead, their cultural and religious traditions, and their families should be respected and protected throughout’. 

Moreover, to encourage persons to report possible exposure and seek medical advice and help, we highlight the need to not stigmatize patients or criminalize them in any way, which will only lead to persons hiding their symptoms and further infecting others. It is also important to ensure there is public information in all three languages regarding the behavior required under different circumstances as well as regarding the available medical care. The availability of such information will reassure the general population that being infected with COVID-19 is not a death sentence. 

We therefore urge you to reconsider the MOH Circular of 1st April 2020 and amendments dated 31 March 2020 to the MOH Provisional Clinical Practice Guidelines, and instead follow WHO Guidance on the disposal of bodies. We also call upon your Excellency to address the country’s greatly distressed Muslims and put to rest their fears that they are somehow being punished, or that the country has little respect for their concerns. 

THE LIST OF SIGNATORIES 

  1. Dr. Asha Abeysekere 
  2. Hilmy Ahamed 
  3. Silma Ahamed 
  4. Azhar Ahamed 
  5. Nihal Ahamed 
  6. Prof. Arjuna Aluwihare
  7. K. Aingkaran, Attorney-at-law
  8. Dr. Harini Amarasuriya, Open University Of Sri Lanka
  9. S.M. Aneefa
  10. N. Abdul
  11. Faaiz, Ameer , Attorney-at-law
  12. Prof. Ameer Ali
  13. Swathika Arulingam,  Attorney at law
  14. Niranjala Arulanathy
  15. Subajini Kisho Anton, Attorney at law
  16. M.M. Baheej, Attorney-at-law
  17. Capt. A.G.A. Barrie, SLE, P.Eng.
  18. Jiffriya Barrie 
  19. Faahima Cadar
  20. Angelica Chandrasekeran
  21. Anushya Coomaraswamy
  22. Radhika Coomaraswamy
  23. C.  Colombage
  24. Danesh Cassie Chetty 
  25. Shalomi Daniel
  26. Amalini De Sayrah
  27. Bishop Duleep de Chickera
  28. Geetha de Chickera
  29. Marisa De Silva
  30. Shaanea Mendis de Silva, Artist
  31. Dinesh Dogangoda, Attorney-at-law
  32. Prabu Deepan
  33. K.M.Deen, All Ceylon YMMA Conference
  34. Dinushika Dissanayake
  35. Asma Edris
  36. S.C.C. Elankovan
  37. Sarala Emmauel
  38. Rev. Sister Nicola Emmanuel.
  39. Mohamed Faslan, University of Colombo
  40. Rashika Fazali
  41. Ilma Fareez
  42. Latheef Farook, Journalist
  43. Rizvi Farouk
  44. Khalid Farouk
  45. Ian Ferdinands
  46. Dr. Kaushalya Fernando 
  47. Dr. Nimalka Fernando, Attorney-at-law
  48. Ruki Fernando
  49. Tamara Fernando 
  50. Rev. Reid Shelton Fernando,  Retired Priest, Colombo
  51. Angela Forman
  52. Bhavani Fonseka
  53. Manel Fonseka
  54. Mushtaq Fuad
  55. Aneesa Firthous
  56. C. Ranitha Gnanarajah Attorney -at law
  57. Shyamala Gomez
  58. Dr. Mario Gomez
  59. Gehan Gunetilleke 
  60. Prof. Camena Guneratna
  61. Harsha Gunasena
  62. Anberiya Hanifa, Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum
  63. Dr. Farzana Haniffa, University Of Colombo
  64. Sa’diya Hassen
  65. Adel Hashim 
  66. Prof. Rajan Hoole 
  67. Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole
  68. Prof. Qadri Ismail
  69. Zumaiya Ifthikar
  70. Fathima Nabeela Iqbal
  71. Ashraff Jainudeen
  72. U.L. Jaufer, Attorney-at-law
  73. Dr. Sivagnanam Jeyasankar
  74. Sr. Victorine James, Holy Cross School of health Sciences Jaffna
  75. Dr. Ahilan Kadirgamar, University Of Jaffna
  76. Niyanthini Kadirgamar
  77. Sakuntala Kadirgamar
  78. Dr. Ramya Kumar
  79. Chulani Kodikara
  80. Mohamed Kubais 
  81. Mahaluxmy Kurushanthan 
  82. Annie Kurian
  83. Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala
  84. Shaheera Lafeer
  85. Jeremy Liyanage, Bridging Lanka Ltd.
  86. Ismath Majeed. 
  87. Jensila Majeed
  88. Justice. Dr. Saleem Marsoof
  89. Izath Manal
  90. Mohamed Mahuruf
  91. M. Meera Saibu
  92. Dr. Farah Mihlar 
  93. Juwairia Mohideen
  94. Buhari Mohamed
  95. Nawaz Mohamed, Former Working Director, SLRC
  96. F. Muflik
  97. F. Z. Nasrullah
  98. Nagulan Nesiah
  99. Devanesan Nesiah, Retired Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Environment and Women’s Affairs
  100. 100.Prof. Vasuki Nesiah, New York University
  101. M.N.M. Nowras
  102. Prof. Arjuna Parakrama, University Of Peradeniya
  103. Nicola Perera, University Of Colombo.
  104. Dylan Perera
  105. Anna Peter
  106. Dr. Jehan Perera, National Peace Council 
  107. Srinath Perera, Attorney-at-aw, United Socialist Party
  108. Rev. Dr. Jayasiri Peiris, Church of Ceylon
  109. Fathima Rameeza
  110. Nalini Ratnaraja
  111. K.S. Ratnavel, Attorney-at-law
  112. Dr. Ramola Rasool, University Of Kelaniya
  113. Prof. Harshana Rambukwella, Open University Of Sri Lanka 
  114. A.R.A. Ramees
  115. Y.R. Ranjan
  116. Sheila Richards
  117. Ahamed Rislan
  118. Yasmin Raji
  119. R. Rasmin
  120. Peter Rezel – Chartered Accountant
  121. Amna Rifky
  122. Thyagi Ruwanpathirana
  123. Afrah Sidiqi
  124. Vanie Simon
  125. Prof. Sivamohan Sumathy, University Of Peradeniya
  126. Prof. Gameela Samarasinghe, University Of Colombo. 
  127. Sampath Samarakoon
  128. Rev. Selvanathan Selvan
  129. M.N Shamla
  130. Shaheed Sangani
  131. Ambika Satkunanathan 
  132. S.Sivathasan
  133. Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu 
  134. Dr. Seyed Sheriffdeen
  135. Sharmila Seyyid, Social Worker
  136. Revd. S .D .P. Selvan
  137. N.M. Saroor
  138. Joanne Senn
  139. Shreen Abdul Saroor 
  140. Krishanthi Tharmaraj
  141. Mahendran Thiruvarangan, Lecturer (Probationary), University of Jaffna
  142. Dr. Minna Thaheer,  Senior Researcher, Centre for Poverty Analysis
  143. Azkha Thariqshad
  144. Fathima Nusra Thameem
  145. Mathuri Thamilmaran – Attorney at Law
  146. Visakha Tillekeratne, Chief Commissioner, Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association
  147. Hafsa Uvais.
  148. Mass Usuf, Attorney-at-law
  149. S. Vinothan
  150. Kamala Vasuki 
  151. Emil van der Poorten
  152. Stella Victor
  153. Piyumi Wattuhewa
  154. Shamara Wettimuny 
  155. Lal Wijenayake, Attorney-at-law
  156. M. Wahid
  157. Varuni Weerasinghe
  158. Annouchka Wijesinghe
  159. Upul Kumara Wickramasinghe – Durham University
  160. Riza Yahiya, Architect
  161. Deshamanya Godfrey Yogarajah
  162. Fr. V. Yogeswaran
  163. S.A.C.M. Zuhyle

Organisations:

  1. Sisterhood Initiatives
  2. National Peace Council
  3. Northern Muslim Civil Society
  4. INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre
  5. Rural Development Foundation
  6. International Institute for Research, Information and Action (IIRIA)
  7. Mannar Women’s Development Center 
  8. Women’s Action Network 
  9. Muslim Women Development Trust
  10. International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES)
  11. Centre for Policy Alternative
  12. Human Elevation Organization  
  13. Islamic Women’s Association for Research and Empowerment 
  14. Centre for Justice and Change, Trincomalee
  15. Centre for Human Rights and Development
  16. Eastern Social Development  Foundation
  17. Law and Human Rights Center, Jaffna. 
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Latest comments

  • 16
    11

    The Best Solution is to cremate the bodies to prevent contamination as well as the spread of the virus. All must abide by the decision taken by Dr, Anil Jasinghe to cremate the bodies.

    • 7
      2

      CT, this article is not user friendly as per SL standards. Please meet the reader expectations: In the long list above, put the subtotals of Muslim & non-Muslim signatories.

    • 2
      1

      Yo Sam, you sound like the same Sinhala Buddhist Racist belonging to the Pro Rajapakse bastardy association. The concern of those who promote Roasting or Cremation of the dead bodies, especially the Muslim ones is health concern. Its all about fighting ISLAM you dumbo. All those who bring in the pseudo scientific Sinhala racist arguments on the need of cremation as the protection of the entirety of the society is to get a CHEAP ORGASM by defeating Islam by the burning of dead bodies of Muslims. Rajapakse bastardy are so cheap. By the way, let us talk about the real science about what all this crap about CORONA PANDEMIC which is nothing but a flu and they have created fake readings of CORONA to make the numbers high as the Jewish Big Pharma run W.H.O. has enslaved all the govts., to follow their crap to control the population. Watch the latest following video about the deception of so called CORONA PANDEMIC….
      —-TOP DOCTOR EXPOSES EVERYTHING the deep state trying to hide ABOUT THE CORONA VIRUS
      https://youtu.be/xf-qv9o8nq8

      • 0
        0

        Typo: The concern of those who promote Roasting or Cremation of the dead bodies, especially the Muslim ones is NOT health concern.

        • 1
          2

          Radical ideas the Islamic bigot, those who promote rotting of dead bodies under the ground scavenged by worms especially the Muslim ones is NOT health concern. I can give a better solution to this problem. We have heard that this virus affects only nose, mouth, throat and lungs and not stomach or genitals. We are also advised to wash our hands and not our feet to destroy the virus. This means that virus is only in the upper parts of the body of head, neck, chest and arms and not in the lower parts of body of stomach and legs. Therefore after a Muslim dies, cut his body into half and cremate the upper part which has the virus and bury the lower part which does not have the virus. This will solve the problem fairly.

    • 1
      1

      I forgot to mention about the counter point to the solution you are providing… the BEST SOLUTION is to IMPOSE A BAN and a BOYCOTT to Sri Lankan racist regime by blockading all trades, Monetary transfers, Oil & petro products. Since the Sinhala Racist slut is desperately need money to run bankrupt shit hole SRI LANKA, the Embargo and the Boycott will DEFINITELY put the racist beggars in their place and they will IMMEDIATELY can make a U-turn saying “no, no its ok to bury, its absolutely safe” and all. Money will talk then. No matter how hard they try, even if all the Sinhala Racists are put together, there is no way to find money so easily as its coming from the Middle East Muslim countries. Gnanasara and Rajapakses will be kicked out by the Sinhala people if they mess up the economy and when there is no petroleum available for the population. Picture the queues at the Petrol stations when that happens…

    • 2
      0

      Sam Alex,
      .
      Why is not to the decision taken by WHO ?
      :
      Are we the srilankens a nation that should be put above ?
      :
      Even SRILANKEN doctors or virologists cant know it better, while the highly developed world, where the people are today speechless of being caught by the COVID 19.

      • 0
        0

        The entire COVID 19 virus is a big BLOODY HOAX. The Western Medical system is a HUGE MAFIA. They have the full control through the Jewish/Israeli controlled United Nations to brand anything according to their plans. All the Corona Virus or the COVID is shown on TV are CG models. Bloody stupid world population is shown COMPUTER GRAPHICS. The report of all deaths are from other complications and these deaths are simply Labelled as COVID. The tests are done on the symptoms and on the genetic materials which are same with other millions of viruses that the HUMAN BODY is having in the natural biological system. The UN and its controllers are trying to bring in VACCINES to infect the entire Humanity over this. Vaccines will destroy the natural immune system in the human body which is millions of years old. The Jewish criminals introduced the Vaccines infect the entire GENTILE/ Non Jewish population for Eugenics/to kill of people. Watch the pseudo science behind this hoax in following video: IS THERE A VIRUS – David Icke https://youtu.be/LxSq_YJLbE8

  • 12
    11

    Please do not do it. WHO allows that decision to national governments. There are people who are opposed to it. Listen to them as well. Otherwise there will be mutual suspicion between communities which is not required now. Cremation is the safest option for SL.

  • 3
    6

    I think we should not give it a go when a fire is about to spread and kill entire flora and fauna.
    .
    Likewise, even if tiny minority portions would always make every efforts to spread their racism based thoughts and minds.
    :
    I think Journalists, by the name of god, should not ADD fuel to burning hay.
    :
    Social media today is seen as the weapons being allowed to Mad soldiers. They just add their thoughts NOT thinking twice, becuase that has become key means of their earnings today. No matter, even their MOTHERs would have been attacked, most of them make every effort to target – more LIKEs- by hook or crook. The best example is that IRAJ WEERATNE – so called TOURISM promoting DIRECTOR of Rajapakshe brother duo- tyrany.
    This ballige putha Iraj, gave gas in the promotion of more tourist arrivals, irrespective rapidly increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients across the globe. Their motto was, that srilanka and cuba are the most safe holiday paradises also in CORONA crisis.
    If the buggers did this, by giving the highest priority, for ” 2-weeks quarantining” being included, things could go different. Upon their adverts, thousands of Chinese and europeans arrived in the country irrespective of high risks.
    :
    No CHINESE tourists were subjected to CONTROLS, because Rajaaikshes doctrine is that servile to CHINA for various reasons.
    :
    So the country is now in DOUBTFUL situatoin, if the NUMBERs given by LOCAL media are the truths. And why the govt make this a huge DISPLAY today, since their intelligence should be clear the numbers can be more than thousands. There are lot more that are hidden yet today, being feared to undergo quarentining.
    :

  • 5
    3

    Author Colombo Telegraph,

    Thanks for the article. This is very controversial.

    Whatever form the coronavirus infected body is given last rites, burial , or cremation, to prevent further infection and protect the living, it has to be evidence-based. Will it lead to another outbreak years later?

    Based on religions beliefs, the Jews, Christians and Muslims prefer burials. Even the Native Veddah Aethho buried their dead.

    For the WHO guidelines, do they have evidence? Are they trying to be politically, religiously and culturally correct? The WHO, while trying to do it’s best, the virus had made the WHO and other countries guidelines obsolete. Initially, in Wuhan China, it was suppressed. The WHO did not declare the virus to be pandemic until much later. President Trumph, banned visitors from China, even before WHO declared the virus to be pandemic. They were all reactive, not sufficiently proactive.
    The virus spread with the planes and the passengers.

    Since, WHO dropped the ball, the guidelines by WHO must be baes on evidence.and not taken at face value.

    Is there any evidence to show that either burial or cremation, will lead to the the body or soul, if it is there, based in beliefs, will or will not, end up in Heaven or attain Nibbana or Nirvana?

    The main reason bodies should be buried, or kept in cold storage is to examine scientifically how the virus invades, and to see how much of the viral RNA got incorporated into the dead person’s DNA, and compare with those who survived. It may tell us more, what we don’t know. Is the virus still active in the buried body? The virus is not living, it is a program, a RNA program, to infect the cells by way of it’s viral proteins.

  • 9
    5

    So many good people speaking out for the minority. That is heartening.

    It is unfortunate, that Sri Lanka’s leaders have weaponized religion, using it as a tool against the minority. It is unfortunate that certain factions in the majority have also decided to cause tensions, and ethnic strife in the country, instead of putting aside their differences and working together during this health crisis.
    If the WHO has okayed burial (under certain conditions), how about the powers that be showing some good will towards the minority, and allowing it, without all this unnecessary fuss, and making it yet another political issue.

    • 6
      3

      Navin,
      If the burial is done in a sparsely populated area, probably it might not cause a serious problem. The only sparsely populated area in the country is Norther Province. So the Government should tell Muslims that they can bury in the Northern Province. The family should bear the transport cost and other expenses.

      • 0
        1

        Eagle Eye BP the ULTRA racist@.
        .
        You dont need to bother with any kind of burials, because earth worms would not welcome you. so you have only ONE option, it is cremation.
        :
        Man when would you grow up ? Give us a please please,… just imagine, if wounds would targettly be hurt, people be them sinhalaya, tamils or muslims would not stay silent.
        There will be more stress between the people.
        Instead, they should be INFORMED THROUGH better awareness programs.
        :
        No option than go for it. – SINHALAYAs would not question about Pansakula… and the muslims would not question about their last will to be burried under earth….
        Hindus would not question about hindu ceremonies basta.
        :
        If there are options only … we have to quarell one another. Be it rich or poor, religious or non-religious, europeans or asians, all will have to be cremated … due to the threat of the spread of the COVID virus.

        Why cant STATE health officials repeat this ?

        Why the govt machnisms stay AS IF THEY HAVE NOTHING to say abou tthis ?
        .
        Why the govt let ANY OF THEIR MEN to release hurtful posts ? What actions being taken by the state on this HIGHLY hurtful issue ?

        This is why we INITIALLY stood against RAJAPAKSHES.. they are butchers and they are only talented as CRUELTIES of high magnitude.
        :
        Not a single person in their circles are saints. I really dont know why the PUNNAKKU eating majority line up to promote them ?

      • 1
        0

        Eagle Eye,
        Good suggestion. Mr. Vigneshwaran should tell his buddy Mr. Hakeem that the Government is not respecting the wishes of minorities and he is welcome to bring dead bodies of COVID-19 victims and bury them in Yapanaya.

  • 9
    3

    Of course all the “experts” on the virtues of cremation who comment in this forum , including the apparently literate ones who mention water tables will not believe this, but there was a worse outbreak than this, in 1918, which killed 20 million people worldwide, even though air travel didn’t exist at the time. Most victims were buried, not cremated.

    https://www.history.com › news
    Amid 1918 Flu Pandemic, America Struggled to Bury the Dead – HISTORY

    Why do our pig-headed officials create unnecessary conflicts?

    • 2
      3

      Hey Old,

      In 1918, it was Pandemic big or the mistake was big?

      Do you believe if they had cremated that time, the death would have been 4 Million, luckily that time’s Modayas buried and saved additional 2 Millions?

      Could you go back to history.com and read it back and let us know?

      Thanks

    • 1
      3

      Dumbo,
      “Why do our pig-headed officials create unnecessary conflicts?”

      This is 2020!

      It is not pig-headed officials who create the problem but by p@g-haters!

      • 1
        1

        Dumb Eagle,
        I may be dumb, but at least I can read and understand evidence, unlike predatory birds who are slaves to ancestral reflexes .

    • 1
      1

      Hay Old codger pig. The same virus coming back again and again with different program to invade. Don’t you think thy have been reincarnated because they were buried?

      • 1
        0

        Illiterate muwa,
        If your mother taught you to read instead of buggering off to Dubai to service some Arab, you would know that this is not the same virus.

    • 0
      0

      The real death toll in the 1918 Pandemic was estimated at 50 million with the total infected estimated at 500 million worldwide. See:

      https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html

  • 4
    0

    Author Colombo Telegraph,

    Around 1610, based on the Bible and the Greeks, the Catholic Church convicted Galileo, for promoting the Heliocentric model and saying that the Earth moves, based on evidence.

    WHO and those who promote burials or cremation of COVID-19, the Wuhan virus dead, must come up with evidence, scientific evidence, solely based on safety, not on unproven beliefs, like the Catholic Church did.

    PS. On February 19, 1600 CE( not AD, because there is no evidence), the Catholic Church burned at the stake, cremated, the LIVING Giardanao Bruno, because he was promoting the heliocentric model. He was not a victim of the Corona virus, but the beliefs, not evidence based, of the Catholic Church.

    So, the burial vs. cremation controversy should be based on evidenced. Remember Giardano Bruno , Galileo and countless others.

    After President Trump and his fundamentalist Christian prayers to stop the virus, the cases and deaths exploded.

    Will the WHO and the organizations take responsibility of the cases explode for to burials? No, they won’t, just like President Donald Trumph. They are brainwashed in their ideology, the virus is calling the bluff and stumping them. They should have listened to the scientists.

    • 7
      2

      Amarasiri,
      There is plenty of evidence that burial of virus victims does NOT spread the disease. The problem is that self-serving politicians and ignorant officials are unaware of a worse pandemic than this one, in 1918, when most dead were buried.
      If we go by the ridiculous theories being floated by bigots, we should all have died of Spanish flu by now.
      In any case, a very simple and cheap compromise is to surround the body with quicklime. It will destroy the copse and virus in double-quick time.

      • 2
        0

        Old codger, RE: Burial Vs. Cremation and COVID-19

        “There is plenty of evidence that burial of virus victims does NOT spread the disease. The problem is that self-serving politicians and ignorant officials are unaware of a worse pandemic than this one, in 1918, when most dead were buried.”

        Yes., it has to be evidence-based. Right now it is racism -based.

        “Put me in the ground” .

        If it is evidence-based, it is easy for Jews, Christians ans Muslims to accept cremation. Besides, it is environmentally better to bury, as opposed to cremation. The energy contained in the body van be given back to the microorganism, provided that the virus is not infective.
        .
        Neil de Grasse Tyson: Difference between Cremation & Burial

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZDQOkToicw

        This is a clip where Neil de Grasse Tyson explains what happens to your energy when you die, and why a corpse’s body feels colder than normal

      • 2
        0

        Old codger,
        Dumbo, this is the first time world is experiencing COVID-19 virus. So who the hell can provide evidences that burial of COVID-19 dead bodies will not create a problem?

        The Government of Sri Lanka decides what is best for the country based on expert opinion. Those who cannot abide by the Government ruling should find some other place where they can do whatever they want and vanish.

        • 0
          0

          Dumb Eagle,
          Clearly you know zilch about viruses. Covid-19 is a Coronavirus, so named because of its spikes. The Spanish flu virus was the same kind. If you know of some epidemic that was caused by digging up a virus, please post the evidence. Otherwise, please stop farting and exposing your ignorance. Please feel free to stick to your specialty, Racism 101.

      • 1
        0

        Old codger

        “The problem is that self-serving politicians and ignorant officials are unaware of a worse pandemic than this one, in 1918, when most dead were buried.”

        The Corona virus is nothing to those Ranavirus who obliterated LTTE.

  • 4
    0

    Author Colombo Telegraph,

    Do we have an emergency with the COVID-19, the Wuhan China virus?

    In an emergency, the good thing about a dictatorship is that it can respond very fast. The bad thing is that it won’t respond at all until the dictator in chief says that it should. All the little dictators who flourish in this sort of system won’t risk their positions by passing bad news up the line until the risk of being blamed for delay outweighs the risk of being blamed for the emergency in the first place.

    You can see how this works if you consider China’s response to the emergence of nCov-2019 (novel coronavirus 2019), a new viral threat potentially as serious as the SARS virus of 2003. Some things it has done well, but others it did very badly, and the odds that the virus will spread globally are now probably even or worse.

    The local health authorities in Wuhan, the 11-million-strong city in central China where the virus first appeared, spotted it on Dec. 31, when only a few dozen cases had come to their attention. That’s as fast as you could ask, and they promptly shut down the seafood and wild game market where the victims caught the disease. Score: 9 out of 10.

    China’s national health authorities also acted fast. On Jan. 9, they announced that they had a brand new coronavirus on their hands, and just one day later they released its full genetic sequence online so medical researchers worldwide could start working on it. Elapsed time: 11 days. Known deaths at that point: one. Score: 10 out of 10.

    We all know rest of the story and how the WHO reacted.

    It is the responsibility of the state to protect the living. This protection should be above beliefs, and evidence-based.

  • 6
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    It is extremely unlikely that the so called President would understand all that is said in the article. A man who is neither thorough with the Constitution nor the ability to manage the country under difficult conditions wants only his “ego” boosted through those who keep applauding him in what he utters, just like what Kim Jong Un of North Korea faces. Even if he passes wind his military applauds and that is the situation Sri Lanka is in. The WHO interim Guideline of March 24 spells it out clearly but arrogance and defiance coupled with racial discrimination by the President is not going to help the country. If he does not adhere to the Islamic principles then he is sure to face the wrath of the Muslims all over the world. Religion is a very touchy topic and this man should realize he is walking a tight rope that could snap in the current situation and could fall any moment. Let wisdom prevail in a country that is rocked with sinking political and economic climate

  • 7
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    Don’t see the fuss about insisting on cremations to stop the spreading of the virus. There have been many plagues in Europe in the past which have wiped out a considerable proportion of the population but the practise has been burial throughout the ages & there is no evidence to suggest the virus resurfacing even when plague pits are dugout subsequently. Ireland is a catholic country & is bracing itself for a high death rate & digging graves well in advance to dispose the bodies. Italy decided to cremate bodies only because some regions have run out of burial space. Even victims of radio active contamination have been buried, albeit, in steel lined coffins or in concrete graves, Cremation is an Asian custom, related to religion, as with burial in other religions & customs. In the current situation, ceremonial funerals need to be avoided but in the absence of running out of burial space, there is no need to restrict burial customs. This is just an over the top reaction in SL.

    • 1
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      Raj-UK,
      “This is just an over the top reaction in SL.”

      The Government that is acting according to the recommendations of the experts in the field cannot put the lives of majority Native Sinhalayo at risk because a ‘Para’ minority group want to do things according to their whims and fancies.
      —-
      The Government should build crematoriums and make it compulsory to cremate. This tiny island with limited land cannot afford to waste land by erecting tombstones on top of graves. Follow communist China and demolish all the existing tombstones and use that land for some productive work. Native Sinhalayo buried their dead bodies but never put tombstones. This is something introduced by colonial parasites. Our ‘Kalu Suddas’ started to imitate that and some of our Sinhala Buddhist don-keys joined the band wagon.

      • 0
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        Eagle Eye
        ”….Native Sinhalayo buried their dead bodies but never put tombstones…” I beg to differ, The last time I was at a cemetery, I saw quite a few. Be objective & read the last sentence in my comment.

        • 0
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          Raj-UK,
          I told the situation prevailed before colonial rule. Please read my last sentence. I admitted that Sinhala Buddhists do this stupid thing after colonial rule.

          I heard that some people have reserved plots in Kanatta paying a huge some of money. Real dumb idiots!

  • 5
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    Ha Ha Ha….
    It’s funny…
    Seeing so called big shot pundits Civil Society going behind OUR president calling him HE…..
    What a turn of events….

    • 3
      5

      2.Hilmy Ahamed
      3.Silma Ahamed
      4.Azhar Ahamed
      5. Nihal Ahamed

      Who are pundits? Hilmy and family?

      Anyway, How is Hilmy and family doing; kids are finding something to play with when the schools are shut or just keep bothering the mother with petty fights within them. Hilmy is pretty busy in Wahabi activism after absconding from CT. He can bother about the family! Remembering two – three of their names even would be hard on him.

      Anyway Best wishes!

      BTW, if anybody wants name to fill the blank of 101, here is a name”
      “Mallaiyuran”

      • 2
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        Mallaiyuran – 101. “Moothiram” or urine (slang in Tamil)

        • 0
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          Namal Naana,
          Neeya Naana Moothiram?
          Why is that anger with Moothiram Nana,
          If you have anger with Moothiram, then how you going Ondukkiruka Naana when Hakeem Naana and Muslim Sinhala Aanduwa tells you to Ondukkiruka in the coming election?

          Namal or Oomal you are; I don’t know that Moda Nana, but if you know Tamil, write decent Tamil. Otherwise, no haram, write in Arabic, your Ayatollah’s language. Google is there.

    • 3
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      Who is you rpresidnet, a liar who has failed to block ROYAL THOMIAN match ?
      .
      Give us one single step, he has fulfilled sofar from the his long list of ELECTION pledges ?
      :
      Bugger is now servile to his brother s vicious agendas, as if he is penisless right ?
      .
      What happened to the bugger who promised that mountaineous and failed that much ?
      :
      Never forget, BP left the country for US for longer exile, not being able to bear in the army even if abusive MEDIA coverage made him a cardboard weeraya.

    • 2
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      S.C. Shitqual – Your president is known as “His Excellunacy” and btw did Namal Rajafucksha tickle your balls! Ha, Ha, Ha!

  • 3
    2

    Having the WHO Guidance – Respecting the Burial Rights: Civil Society creamtion and buerial 8 feet below ground level. Two options are available. these option not put onthe table they would gone long discussion to bring to this stand fromWHO.
    If one who has the sickness can travel long distance to the hospital the same method can be used
    one who is sick and dead can be taken the same safety method to be buried use ambulance. and no one will avoid the sickeness come forward presenting themself , to perform the availble option so that they will not be creamted.

  • 6
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    What’s right today may be wrong tomorrow.

    What WHO says today may be wrong tomorrow.

    Why should we divide on such a silly matter; whether to cremate or bury?

    Cremation is the best thing as it seems to be less expensive & in case WHO recommends cremation only tomorrow.

    Unless all the buried bodies will have to exhume tomorrow for cremation causing havoc to society.

    As it’s done to dead bodies, why should anybody bother about it.

    Muslim friends/brothers; think about people alive rather than people dead.

    Sad to say almost all the Muslims are extremists.

  • 5
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    Eelam Tamils are fighting the deadly corabavirus epidemic under the visionary leadership of the prime minister of Transnational government of Tamil Eelam Honorable V . Rudrakumar.
    Honorable Prime minister has appointed Covid 19 action committe to organize the Eelam Covid 19 ceaseless wave . Hon prime minister has appointed justice C.V. Wigneshwaran as the head of covid committe Tamil Eelam proper.
    Prime minister has called for international assitance to Tamil Eelam to defeat coronavirus.
    Prime minister has also noted genocidal Sinhalese regime is using covid 19 deadly virus as a biological weapon in Tamil genocide.

    Justice C.V . Wigneshwaran under the leadership of hon prime minister Rudrakumaran has already informed the United nations and UN Human rights council.
    Tamils quest is for Tamil Eelam!

    • 4
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      Ha ha ha ha good one.

    • 0
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      Hey Tamil Covid 19,

      Didn’t they ask IMF to extend the loan for another 3 years until they make deal with Sina for Trinco Harbour, just like Ranil did on Hangbangotota harbor to John Kerry & Nisha, the secretary and assistant Secretary? Ranil taught Nisha to learn cooking of Aapa Diplomacy in the Rupavahini. He taught softball to Samantha Power in Osmania Muslim Ladies College. Ranil even prepared Pol Sambol and Idiyappam and sent it to Samantha Power to washington. At the end, when Atthul Hesap, the previous US Ambassador, went to tell Ranil that the US was going to move the Tel-Aviv Embassy to Jerusalem, Ranil kicked on the butt and put him out of his office. By that anger America didn’t appoint any ambassador for Lanakwe for one year!

      Do CV or Rudra are that kind of smart souls? I doubt it, no?

      • 0
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        Our deepest condolences to the first SL born Coronavirus victim who’s a Eelam Tamil.

        • 0
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          Please covey your deepest condolences to the first two SL born corona virus victims, who are both Sinhalese – Lucky Wijeratne and Henry Jayawardena.

    • 1
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      Thank God Eelaam PM is safe,
      I read the other day that COVID-19 is sweeping across New Jersey now like a Wild Fire..

      I am glad to hear that the ex CM Mr Vigneswaran from the Vellala Party in Colombo has been appointed as the Eelaam Government’s Rep in Srilanka to protect the Inhabitants in the Peninsula from this terrible Epidemic..

      Mr Vigneswaran must now at least watch those Alternative Church Preachers from the Diaspora ,who come over to protect our Tamil Bros and Sisters in the North through Prayer Sessions based on Western Tunes.

      BTW, Why do our Vellala Party supporters have put their names here to help Mr Rauf Hakeem’s demand for open casket burials of the COVID-19 infected corpses.

      I thought the Burning the Bodies is their ritual on the Banks of Ganges , since Buddha’s time …

      I was also happy to see our dear friend Mr Emil Pooten’s signature at least , because I haven’t read anything from Mr Poorten since our American Petrol Pumper Nanade became the President..

    • 0
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      The president and PM of Tamil Eelam is always Thalaivar Velu Piraba. No one else can take his place. He is now in Tamil Eelam. Please join him.

  • 6
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    President Gotabaya was elected by Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalists. He can only follow the guidance of Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalists. President is the head of Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism. Srilanka lost its independence, democracy, judiciary and human rights in November 2019.

    • 6
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      Ali Sabri is a Buddhist?
      A Sinhalese?
      A Buddhist Sinhalese fundamentalist?
      Come on Ajit? Are you trying to be Mr. Bean of Sri Lanka?

      • 1
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        Ali Sabri is an opportunistic Muslim.Fundamentalism is different from Buddhism or Islam.

  • 6
    3

    “In the Muslim faith it is required that the dead be buried and cremation is not permitted”
    Yes, but under NORMAL CONDITIONS.
    If a Muslim (or his family) insists that upon death he be cremated then he is (or they are) guilty of performing a haram (forbidden) act.
    The current times are NOT NORMAL CONDITIONS.
    Burial-at-sea is forbidden for Muslims under NORMAL CONDITIONS, but under UNUSUAL CONDITIONS can be conducted at sea for PRACTICAL REASONS.
    The WHO guidelines recommend creation or burial. These are guidelines NOT MANDATORY RULES. The WHO guidelines do not specify that Muslims must be buried. The WHO guidelines offer Muslim-majority countries which may not possess crematoriums an option to follow.

    The fatwa below was issued a few days ago by an International Islamic Scholar
    “However, if we assume that the situation escalates to the point where cremation is the only way to curb the spread of the epidemic in order to preserve people’s lives, then, in this case, cremation may be permitted as a legal concession, giving precedence to the interests of the living over those of the dead.
    Indeed, Daar Al-Iftaa’ of Egypt had previously issued a Fatwa stating the permissibility of cremating the Ebola victims in the event of death, if cremation is the only way to curb the spread of the epidemic among the living, provided that the cremated remains are buried afterward.
    This must be done within the scope of the Sharee‘ah-acceptable necessity and based on the opinion of specialists from a purely scientific viewpoint.
    We would like to warn our Muslim brothers in the countries that may issue orders for the cremation of the victims to adhere to wisdom when dealing with the official authorities and to avoid collision as much as possible in order to avoid potential Fitnah (tribulation) which may incur graver evil and harm on Muslims.”

  • 4
    3

    Religion was the least in mind of Director General of Health Services when guidelines for disposal of bodies of deceased due to Covid 19, was formulated. It is well known fact that body of the deceased person is not infective once breathing is ceased. Like any other living cells, virus also need oxygen for their survival and they rapidly deteriorate once life is ceased. However body fluid continue to remain infective hence the need for funeral directors and their attendees to use protective gears.

    Whether it is cremation or burial it is of paramount importance to maintain social distancing. Loss of a family member is a disturbance of unimaginable scale. Yet community need to bear in mind that close family members also might have been exposed to the virus during pre hospitalisation period when he/she was contagious and potentially should be in Quarantine. Attendance of family members and friends only help further spread of the virus. There was a death of a prominent Rabbi in UK, his wife for 6o yrs could not attend the service as she was self-isolating, only attended by one family member and a Rabbi.

    It is accepted and standard practice that burial involve more personnel than cremation, and should be in a designated burial ground where no surface water reach communities etc and buried certain feet below the surface above water table. Not surprisingly this is a sensitive issue and what is important at this juncture to prevent spread of virus in the interest of all communities irrespective of their faith. No wonder politicians are keeping a distance!

  • 3
    3

    Last Easter attacks were to weaponize religion and create conflict cause a diversion, in order to sign MCC land grab compact and SOFA – to set up US military bases in Sri Lanka to fight China in the Indian Ocean.
    This Easter 2020 religion is being bio-weaponized – the virus is being released in minority religious gatherings to turn minorities into targets of Sinhala Buddhist and Hindu nationalists, while the USAID project to set up a total surveillance system under the Corona 19 panicdemic narrative is unfolding at the VOA station with 150 million USD. This is to set up the infrastructure for social control to pursue the SOFA project again.
    US-EU funded Lankan Civil society suffers from total Groupthink and fear psychosis. This statement is the best they can do?! Meanwhile the US citizen first family is following the WHO fake experts with GMOA and both in the pay of big drug companies – keeping Sri Lanka with just a few cases under brutal curfew while in Europe and US even though thousands are dying people are able to go out.
    What a miracle of Modaya – civil society in Sri Lanka!

  • 4
    2

    If I were you Mr. President, I will immediately put these persons in total lockdown untill the COVID is successfully combatted.
    These are santhosam Vultures with a hidden agenda with no love for the Country.

    These are traitors to the Country. What have they done to curtail COVID in the Country other than sitting in the comfort of their dwelling places and devouring their (03) meals a day.

    What happened to Signatory 101 ?????????????????
    its like the Patient ZERO and the Patient 31.

  • 2
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    I am an Agnostic. However, I respect the faith of others. Accordingly, the custom of Burial or Cremation should be adhered to as per the religious faith. Buddhists and Hindus believe in cremation mostly, but there are times burial is also done among the Buddhists. Despite beliefs, there are practical aspects to be looked into during mass deaths. During the war, so many Hindus were buried without even ascertaining their identity. Their loved ones are still looking for them. As far as the Muslims are concerned they are keen followers of their religion, when death occurs more than while living. I just read a news item where’ COVID 19′ dead bodies are bundled together and buried much against the liking of their respective families. Under the prevailing circumstance, cremation will be much easier as Gods are also responsible for the present plight and space saved. After exploring all possibilities for burial, cremation may be done.
    Unfortunately, the change doesn’t hurt the dead but the living.

  • 4
    1

    Colombo Telegraph Author,

    WHO dropped the ball on the Wuhan China virus, renamed COVID-19 virus,
    If the WHO did not drop the ball, this would have been a non-issue and no pandemic.

    You know rest of the story,. The virus is calling the bluff of those who believe in various divine and other attributes, and the leaders, the monks, the priests, the Ulama and the politicians are all stumped.

  • 6
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    Gotabaya who stole money to make a mausoleum for his dead parents should have more compassion.

    • 4
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      Dear Mr Buddhist,
      you are spot on.
      :
      They stole statefunds not only for a build of a MAUSOLEUM but even their underwears. These family what they have done to this nation is not being erased for some reasons. I believe, MEDIA blackout is also being funded by Basil Rajapakshe Foundation, also built by stolen funds.
      :
      Those who are aware fo the truths, would never forget the high crimes, the bugger family committed.
      :
      Contd.

  • 1
    1

    What about the ashes of cremated body if they are washed away then it buried still it can generate germ’s and pollute water the fumes pollute the air the cremated ashes does not assign its to quarantine for safety man handling is the end activity though it is cremated the dead body taking long distance is safe than the live with corona disease because he can sneez and handle objects

  • 4
    1

    “164 Civil Society activists and 17 organisations have today urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa”.
    =
    Only? where are the rest (of 5000 odd NGOs of the 90s)?

  • 5
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    This Muslim group (with a handful of Sinhala and Tamil bleeding hearts) seem to not understand Sinhala or English!
    /
    Why can’t the government give the policy on burial of COVID19 corpses written in ARABIC, to these people.
    /
    That might work!

  • 3
    3

    One muslim politician tried to score points by promoting Religious gibberish. He tried to BULLY new president. There are so many reports in the web which says that scientists have isolated ancient viruses from various places. So, if we bury the body, even after 1000 years if these burial sites are excavated to bury newly dead the virus can come out become alive and create an endemic. Even from Hakeem’s motherland sites, ancient viruses have been excavated.

  • 1
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    My sincere request to all these organisations and people appearing to fight for the rights of a community .Are we co concerned about the dead than the people living. Why try to let a dead body which could spread a deadly virus through soil, water table and bring death to millions through contamination allowed to be decomposed rather than cremated and burn the contaminating virus. Please get down from your high pedestals financed by criminal and religous extremists and for a moment think of the mankind instead of your selfish attitudes.

  • 0
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    Well other than Ratnajeevan none of these guys questioned the Sinhala Mahajan when it unitedly voted for a War Criminal Paradesi, who has no legitimate country. Mahajan reacted for Muslims ministers’ unitedly resigning when Ranil government attempted to investigate the Muslim Ministers’ involvement in 4/21. But we don’t deny that Ranil’s government involvement in 4/21, but to white wash himself Ranil was doing an eye washing to investigations. Now these activists coming out to howl at moon. They this self-actualization activism will not do anything beyond to remind the Mahajan the ample overhaul in Kurunegala district after 4/21. Most of these were seen when Muslim women Fundamentalist violated the rights of their women by MMDA by funding the successive opportunistic governments. Did these guys talked in March when Appe Aanduwa resigned from Resolution 30/1 which requested Aanduwa to investigate 150,000 murders it committed on innocent civilians and pay compensation for victims and provide a permanent Solution for Muslims and Tamils?

    Didn’t Radhika is accused of suppressing Judge Sundram’s report on the murders committed by Rapist Nay of Old Royals? She was even accused of working with Nambiar (Who was fire by UN eventually) like international criminals people to use UNESCO to save Colonel Corona (Sorry spelling error, “Karuna”)

    Where did from invented they the WHO these “lazy activists”, who all still in coma about Tamils’ request to investigate Lankawe?

    Why didn’t Hakeem sign this? Because he still honestly believe, though he wants Muslims votes for election, that it was under the Old Royals that Muslims lived their Golden life, as repeatedly he went UNHRC and advocated there. .

    Is that Arabian Riyal overflowing ministers’ pockets? Is that why these activist are waking up?

    (I see some real people’s names are too there. My Excuse for them. Sorry!)

  • 1
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    In the present circumstances it is best to cremate I appeal to the Muslim Community to accept it in these critical period.
    I appeal to the President not to give in

  • 0
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    The activists must talk to Aanduwa that all people fundamental rights are being violated by enforcing unwanted curfew, especially in North, where there is no need for. Dr. Satyamurthy said lately he tested 17 Tamils & none of them were infected.

    In US they, tested 1.5 Million; more than 300,000 infected.
    For what the heck these Modayas are wasting most needed testing equipment on people who did not get in contact with Covid-19? What are they trying to prove? “It was only Muslims and Tamils lived in Italy and came back to spread Covid-19 in Wildlife Sanctuary? “ Comadian!

    The Slap Party Candidate, Northern Governor M/s Charles said it was Rapist police who escorted and brought the infected Pastor to Jaffna! She is an Ex. Customs officer and unlike Radhika, she understands what happens in the Wildlife Sanctuary Immigration & customs offices at SWRD Airport of Kolamuwa.

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