8 August, 2022


Outcry From MPs And Activists As Gota’s Government Seizes Dead Muslims For Cremation By Force

Hiding behind the corona virus crisis President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government has adopted an openly racist practice of forcefully seizing the bodies of dead Muslims and cremating them against the wishes of their families even when the death has nothing to do with COVID-19.


On 15 May 2020 reports surfaced of a 67 year old Muslim man who died in his home on 5th May in Madampitiya being forcibly taken away by security forces and cremated. The families were forced to sign consent forms by heavily armed security personnel. The dead person had no symptoms of COVID 19 and their families have not been placed in quarantine after the death. Even though the body was cremated the death has not been registered as a corona virus death.

The issue was raised by Sri Lanka Muslim Congress MP Ali Zahir Moulana on Twitter while activists are also increasingly concerned. Moulana questioned the “underlying objective” of what he referred to as atrocious acts by the Government to prevent families of victims to provide last rites for the deceased according to their faith despite clear World Health Organisation guidelines. Moulana said the Government was using “brute force and intimidation against grieving families”.

“What are the actual number of fatalities from COVID19 in Sri Lanka? How many others have been wrongfully cremated and families silenced? President @GotabayaR you owe us all an explanation!” he said.

Several cases have been filed at the Supreme Court against the Government policy to forcibly cremate Muslims. Vice President of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka Hilmy Ahmed and three MPS of the ACMC including Rishard Bathiudeen have filed petitions challenging the gazette forcing cremation for victims of COVID 19. “Pray that the SC which won the admiration of the country in December 2018 during the constitutional coup will not succumb to political manipulation. The world focus is on us for denying right to bury” Ahmed tweeted after the case was filed.

The government however is moving beyond the scope of the gazette and forcibly cremating Muslims who die of causes unrelated to the virus activists are warning.

According to activists following the case the death had occurred at 1.15AM. An emergency doctor visited the residence about one hour later to confirm death. Police were informed of the death around the same time. About 12 hours later police visited the home to pick up the body and take it to National hospital. The body of the deceased was thereafter placed in the mortuary without a covering. The next day the corpse was taken to Borella cemetery and cremated. The family was forced to sign a piece of paper about a suspicion of corona virus. Moulana said that the entire family of the deceased was threatened not to divulge the details of what had taken place publicly. “That the family is subject to harsh intimidation by the authorities clearly indicates evil and malevolent intent, with the apparent aim of keeping such incidents a secret” the former SLMC MP said.

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Latest comments

  • 21

    the military junta is now in full operation.
    the minorities, if they do not have any sort of semblance with the rajapuk’s and living in a metropolitan area similar to Colombo, being from Madampitiya, must have been from the lower rung of the social ladder have had to pay the price for being born poor.?
    fear that the Sinhalese racists will and would have begun beating up the drums of war aided and abetted by the so-called ganankarraya’s in safron robes might have also been another cause for this unforgivable intrusion.
    one’s got to accept the reality that we the economic stalwarts who can break or make the country have no other choice but to fight a battle where money talks.

  • 23

    GoNa Rajapaksa thinks he can always win votes by flaming racism. It will soon run dry.

  • 12

    Going to Courts will not be beneficial and with a jackass of an AG everything can tossed. Timing of the
    Court Cases, along with opposite Politicians under lock or bale to get at that 2/3rd is the hand art of dual
    citizen (BR).
    The moment the International Muslim Organisation steps in the better – as the Putin type acts will have
    to vanish – unless Gota is prepared to have all the house-maids confronting him and the Armed forces in
    short time?

    • 13

      Maybe it is time all Arab nations, slowly stopped, or lessened drastically, the recruitment of Sri Lankan workers, and looked to other countries for workers.

      It seems the Rajapaksa’s do not appreciate the billions of dollars our nation gets through remittances from Muslim countries, our country’s TOP revenue earner. They are begging for it. Maybe the Muslim nations should send Sri Lanka, and India, a strong message, that will hit them where it hurts, and we know despite the false bravado, stopping foreign exchange from coming in to economically struggling nations, will hurt badly.

      This is abuse of corpses for racist reasons, against all the advice of the WHO, and Muslim nations. No respect for the dead or their grieving families, and this is what one can call low class racist behavior, another first by the Rajapaksa racist regime. Just when you think they cannot go any lower, they always manage to do so.

      • 3

        Ashen –
        they are already feeling the economic impact.
        thanks to their godfather’s gift to the world the coronavirus, the old white uncles have stopped coming in their thousands the fathers of the young ones have no paisa to drink and visit the houses of illicit pleasure givers many prostitutes of both sexes.
        no salli no chune they aptly say in Sinhala
        in queen’s English – no cash no jolly.

  • 4

    “The family was forced to sign a piece of paper about a suspicion of corona virus. Moulana said that the entire family of the deceased was threatened not to divulge the details of what had taken place publicly.”

    Can this happen in a Democracy Which Sri Lanka is? Should this happen in a Democracy, what should the Highest in Authority in an Elected Government do? Shouldn’t they Openly and Publicly Apologize to the Affected Family and take Action against those Responsible? What do we see? Silence. DESPICABLE SILENCE from the Powers that be. As bad or even worse, is the INEXCUSABLE SILENCE from the Opposition, the Media and the Civil Society. Whither Sri Lanka.

  • 5

    It is time that people like Mr. Zahir Ali Moulana, appeal to the larger Sinhala Buddhist community to muster their strength against the atrocities of the Rajapakses against the minorities.

    I am sure the majority of the Sinhalese are good human beings and will not condone the actions of the Government and the motivations behind them. They too will be against the corruption and the ill will of these politicians.

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