The Gotabaya Rajapaksa Government’s mandatory cremation policy was a “tremendous jolt” to the Muslim community in Sri Lanka, Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran who challenged the policy in Supreme Court told an Australian broadcaster this week.
It was “a tremendous jolt to them when they know this is being done not on account of any bona fide belief that this is necessary for health but purely as a racist measure,” the TNA MP told the foreign TV station.
Sumanthiran told ABC that the policy was “terrible for the families because of their fundamental belief that a person who dies must be committed to the earth, and on account of their belief with regard to resurrection and also on account of the belief that fire denotes hell.
Sumanthiran, a president’s counsel, was one of the lawyers who took the controversial cremation policy to the Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear the petitions after several hearings without giving any reasons for their rejection.
“No evidence that the water under the earth can carry the virus. The Muslim community was even willing to have concrete chambers as burial chambers yet the state has steadfastly refused because they have taken a particular position and they don’t seem to want to back off from that,” the Parliamentarian said.
He added that as far as they knew, Sri Lanka was the only country that is refusing burial. “But we have checked and we have found that about 188 countries permit burial for those who die of COVID and WHO has given guidelines for both burial and cremation of Covid-19 victims” Sumanthiran said.
Video of the interview: