6 May, 2021

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Sri Lanka’s Mandatory Cremation Policy Is Playing Politics With The Dead

While appreciating Sri Lanka’s relative success with the management of COVID-19, the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) would like to express its strong condemnation of the mandatory cremation of all dead bodies suspected to have been infected with the coronavirus, and calls upon the leaders of all communities to do all they can to have this irrational and discriminatory government policy reversed.

Sri Lanka’s mandatory cremation policy has caused major outrage and trauma for the Muslim and Christian minorities, whose beliefs require dead bodies should be buried. It is the Muslim community that has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and to force them to adopt practices that violate their fundamental religious beliefs is cruel and inhumane.

It has been reported that the abuse of this policy is widespread and several Muslims whose bodies were cremated had not been tested for coronavirus, and even tested negative. Another tragic manifestation of this policy is that several Muslim families have even disowned their dead because they did not want to be complicit in the cremation of their bodies which is believed to be a sinful act against their loved ones.

There is no scientific justification for the government to adopt this policy and deny the dead the dignity they deserve in death. In fact, the guidelines from the World Health Organization state that the burial of victims posed no danger to public health, and almost all the countries allow for the burial of COVID-19 victims, making Sri Lanka an outlier among the world nations.

Top government officials changed their original guidelines under pressure from influential Buddhist monks to mandatory cremations. The Supreme Court rejected fundamental rights petitions filed by fourteen affected families without giving reasons for its decision. Faced with mounting domestic and international pressure, the government made an extraordinary attempt to fly bodies to Maldives for burial to placate its extremist support base. All these unquestionably indicate the direction Sri Lanka is heading.

The mandatory cremation policy is not an exception, but rather one more fitting element within the broader agenda of the Rajapaksa government. The deplorable initiatives it has taken within a year, such as enacting the autocratic 20th Amendment to the constitution; appointing Presidential Commissions and task forces to scuttle established governance procedures; militarising top levels of the bureaucracy (including some who are credibly implicated in serious human rights violations), resorting to surveillance, intimidation and detention without charge (a precursor for rampant media self-censorship), and withdrawing from the UNHRC resolution which Sri Lanka pledged for years as its ‘solemn commitment to accountability and reconciliation’ – are indicative of its gradual transition from democratic to an authoritarian regime.

These changes should ring alarm bells for each and every citizen of the country. The minority communities, who face enormous challenges and discrimination in daily life, now fear losing even the minimum of self-governance arrangements they enjoyed. They are afraid of losing their land and identity under the pretext of protecting Buddhist archaeological sites and calculated government development initiatives. The sense of despondency has driven them to courts, albeit unsuccessfully, to seek justice for their dead, the right to memorialise their dead, and now to bury their dead.

Even for Sri Lanka with its long history of discrimination and marginalisation of its minority communities, this mandatory cremation policy is a step too far. It is no secret that in the recent past the Muslim community has been at the receiving end of discrimination and violence. There is growing belief among the present ruling party ideologists that the more the Muslims are discriminated and targeted, the more the support the government will receive from hard-line nationalistic elements.

But Sri Lanka is also a country that has produced decent and humanitarian citizens and leaders, who stood for diversity, pluralism and human rights of all its peoples. It is time again for those principled citizens to do their part irrespective of their ethnic or political affiliations to prevent Sri Lanka plunging further into the abyss of prejudice and intolerance. The role of the majority community is so crucial to achieve this noble transition in the society.

Sri Lanka’s present hard-line policies on inter-communal tolerance and pluralism will take the country backwards by decades and even sow the seeds for future conflicts. The country’s preparedness to dishonour its firm commitments – whether to India or UNHRC – is likely to pose serious challenges to the international community. Deviating from long held international norms will have economic and other costs to the country on top of the already devastating blows dealt by the pandemic.

Lack of collective initiatives and counter actions now will only make the task much harder in the future. The civil society groups and all fair-minded people should seize the moment in the name of humanity, brotherhood and fundamental rights. (By Global Tamil Forum)

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Latest comments

  • 8
    27

    No one knows it for sure what the real truth is. In the name of human survival to err in the right side than to err in the wrong side makes better logical sense.

    • 20
      7

      I read somewhere ” In a world somewhere blind follows the blind,
      whoever dares open his eyes and follows his own path, will
      naturally become a leader.” And also I read this ” Adults are nothing
      but children with responsibilities , Great is the man who never loses
      his ‘child’s’ heart.” And it shouldn’t be harder to judge a bunch of men
      and women who had , not very long ago , cuddled n caressed their own
      newly born grand children had the” BIG HEARTS” to burn a BABY of
      only 20 DAYS ! Hiding behind the drama of Corona ! The intelligent and
      smart and the matured are not so called if they can not smell about
      what more in store , waiting for a DISASTER TO STRIKE to unleash of
      their TODAY SPECIAL !

    • 10
      23

      How about the living?

      Too much attention on the dead of one tribe. Focus on the living instead!

    • 25
      11

      I find it tiring to reply to the moda sinhala buddhists who try to argue for their imaginary baseless claims from a position of wilful ignorance. So I found a good comment from a rational individual who exposed the hypocrisy and idiocy in the dirty hearts of these moda sinhala buddhists.
      .
      “Racist, selfish bigots who had open funeral procession in public for crooked Thonda , conduct an island wide elections amid peak of pandemic are now debating burial vs cremation. Your comments are as pathetic as the shit promoted in Lanka as an alternative to vaccine. Why don’t you guys drink your own invention and leave rest in peace . Beggars who cannot afford to get a single vaccine discussing here science behind burial vs cremation.”
      .
      Chiv

      • 7
        29

        sitrep24,
        Muslim ‘Modayas’ who still live in Stone Age have become a real head-ache for Sinhala Buddhists.
        If the descendants of Demala Muslim refugees from Hindusthan who were saved by Sinhala Buddhists when they faced persecution by Portuguese do not like to live with Sinhala Buddhists in Sinhale they are free to return to their ancestral homeland. Sinhala Buddhists did not invite Demala Muslims to Sinhale.

        • 14
          6

          Oi Eagle Blind Eye

          Why isn’t your glorious army fighting the armyworm?
          Are your Ranaviruses scared of Armyworm?

        • 3
          7

          EE,

          Actually they did. Following the “my enemy is my friend” strategy ancient Sinhala kings married Mugal women and forged ties with them against Hindus. You can’t get their help when you want them and dump them afterwards.

          This strategy can be done even today if you think carefully.

        • 6
          0

          Nonsence !!!

          You are talking without a sense to the humanity. Do you know the history of the Muslim in Sri Lanka ?

        • 6
          0

          Who invited Vijaya and his 700 thugs?

        • 5
          0

          Eagle Eye ,

          I like to give you a very good opportunity to switch from wrong
          to right , false to truth and dishonest to honest . Tae this from me
          and think over and over again and again . This what science says
          about Brain and Dream : Every person you see in dreams , have
          come across in your real life. .OUR BRAIN CAN NOT CREATE
          FACES ! Explain Juice man’s Kali drama please .

      • 0
        4

        “Dec 28 (CT) Anunayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter Venerable Dimbulkumbure Wimaladhamma Thera says until the committee of experts submits their report, all COVID-19 dead should be cremated. He says the idea that people can take to the streets and demand permission for COVID-19 dead to be buried cannot be approved. “

      • 0
        7

        Who this rascal writing the word moda Sinhala. Probably he is from MAD-RAS(CAL) origin man.

    • 4
      13

      Given SL’s high population density all dead (except those died from foul play) must be cremated going forward. No discrimination. That will make SL unattractive to extremists. Isn’t it?

  • 28
    7

    In today s context what is NOT upside down in Rajapakshes led srilanka ?

    Mandatory Cremation policy is beyond all ethics and morals, while naturally sinking countries such as Bangaladesh, Mexico and the Netherlands allow COVID death burials and why Srilankens to stick to their rigorous – mlechcha agendas ?
    .
    WHO has made it clear that each and every country should take the decisions regarding the last wills in compliance with the rights of the citizens. Even if less than 200 deaths are yet reported in SL as of today, against the will of the lovely ones of the dead, go for CREMATION pleasing RAJAPAKSHES men is beyond bearing. Not just MUSLIMS, but also others request to respect their own wills regarding the last respects of the dead.
    :
    This country- led by Rajapakshes is fallen far deeper today- than no times in the past.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfaAITSkoz0

    Viktor Iwan reminds it again – even JUDGEs dont seem to repsect the basic human rights, so what more talks about the level of justice in this country.
    .

  • 9
    36

    “It has been reported that the abuse of this policy is widespread and several Muslims whose bodies were cremated had not been tested for coronavirus, and even tested negative.”
    —-
    Who has reported?
    Another blatant lie produced in Tamil Diaspora ‘Lie Manufacturing Factory’.

  • 14
    29

    Can a Muslim Scholar tell us where in Holy Quran it is mentioned that Muslim dead bodies ‘SHOULD’ be buried?
    I am asking this because I read in an article published in another website where the writer had said that it is not mentioned in Holy Quran that Muslim dead bodies ‘SHOULD’ be buried.

    • 23
      7

      Eagle ‘stupid fool’ Eye, tell me where it says Buddha was God?

      • 19
        3

        Tamil From North!
        At least Can the Buddhists say Lord Buddha preached a New religion?

      • 5
        23

        Tamil from the north,
        Dumbo answer my question without talking rubbish. If you do not know the answer just keep your mouth shut.

      • 1
        4

        Did anyone saw any Gods in this world? Noble price winner Indian Tamilian said there are no Gods in this world

    • 23
      5

      Eagle Eye ,

      First of all , I am not a scholar . This is the definition for Grave : An
      excavation made in the earth in which to bury a dead body . One
      caution though ! Different dictionaries provide definitions in their
      own way . Wit that in mind , please read this :” And the hour is
      coming , there’s no doubt in it ,and God will resurrect those who are
      in the graves 22:7 ” There are more verses about the Grave in Quran .
      And now you can turn your Master skill to find a way to give your
      version to Graves ! But I would say nothing would justify FORCED
      CREMATION of Muslims , other than a set of rogues taking advantage of
      a section of the majority voters to satisfy a short-lived vendetta !

      • 4
        22

        whywhy,
        I asked a straightforward question because few Muslims have decided to play ‘Political Football’ using the decision taken by the Government to cremate Muslim dead bodies infected with Corona virus. So give me a straight answer without beating around the bush.

        • 16
          2

          Eagle Eye ,

          There’s no beating around any bush . The answer was direct .
          And I didn’t go into detail as to how Muslims are led by Islam.
          Here on this forum , enough contributions have been made
          by Buddhists , Hindus , Christians and Muslims about their
          religions and their guidance . You know very well that Muslims
          have Quran and Hadith to follow . Not only Quran .You are
          contradicting govt stand here , govt insists it has nothing to do
          with cremation ‘game’ and you are even trying to make it look
          ‘Political Football.’ EE , I am not hanging around this forum to
          show off how much I know about many things that are picked
          up for comments . And I am not on this forum to make it as
          much destructive as possible ! I always maintain a neutrality
          come what may . I don’t say you are destructive but the way
          you represent your interest has toxic ingredients ! I am a strong
          believer in people completely get depoliticised and focus on
          economy . Never allow bad politics and religion to dominate
          their day to day affairs !

    • 6
      21

      Good question. I also searched the Koran but could not find anywhere it says the dead must be buried. Someone has lied and the others are just following it.

      Read the Koran please. That is Allah’s word. Nothing is above it.

    • 25
      9

      Can a buddhist scholar tell me why the moda sinhala buddhist make statues of and worship a man who is reported to have eaten human flesh ?
      .
      Can a buddhist scholar explain why buddha should be worshipped when he isn’t even ever living. Also didn’t he have to go and beg for food from his neighbours ? couldn’t he help himself to sustain himself ?? He couldn’t help himself from death or to even be self sufficient. What’s the point asking for help from a man that cannot even help himself ?
      .
      Do you want me to keep listing things why buddha is not a good and buddhism is nothing but a folklore ?? By the time I’m done these moda sinhalayo will be taking down those statues with their own hands XD

      • 19
        4

        Not a god*

      • 6
        22

        sitrep24,
        Do you want me to keep listing things why buddha is not a good and buddhism is nothing but a folklore ??

        Buddhists do not consider Buddha as a God.
        Sinhala Buddhists also can say Prophet Mohamed is a war monger who killed many people, Islam is nothing but a folklore and what is in Quran is rubbish and therefore no need to pay attention to what Muslims say about cremating dead bodies of Muslims.

        • 20
          6

          ee,
          .
          Oi pako then what do these moda sinhalayo do when they make statues of a man who ate human flesh and then bow down in worship to that thing ?? I know the moda sinhalayo beside worshipping statues of a man who supposedly lived a long time ago they also worship the devils when they do their chants and blow on knots (pirith nool), this is well known.
          .
          Also can a buddhist scholar explain to me, why all the buddhist girls are converting to Islam (this is according to a confession by eagle eye in a previous post) 👀

          • 0
            5

            sitrep your utter ignorance is astounding. Why don’t you read a book before making a fool of yourself? Try Walpola Rahula’s What the Buddha Taught.

          • 0
            3

            Can CT explain why, if they really want to accommodate all shades of opinion, still not ensure that civil language is used?
            .
            Sitrep has started his response with “Oi pako”. Disgusting! BTW, some seem to think him a Muslim; to me the board he displays appears to be “Christianity”.
            .
            One way or another, “sitrep24” ought not to write anything here until he educates himself by doing some basic reading on whatever subject he wants to comment on.
            .
            It’s wasting everybody’s time.
            .
            Dear LM, When you slip up, I think that it’s best for you to acknowledge that you gave Mangala SamaraWEERA. It is Ranil W.’s erstwhile buddy, Malik, who has the “Samarawickrema” surname.
            .
            We don’t visit this site wanting to see a stream of ad hominems.

            • 0
              3

              Dear Sinhala man
              I now realise that GATAM and sitrep 24 are not Muslims. Their postings are intended to incite anger against the Muslims in Sinhala Buddhist readership.
              This is the most uncivilised use of anonyms particularly in the context of race relations in Sri Lanka. ( I admire you most by letting the readrship know in advance your name, including the national ID number)
              These are the devilish type who spread fabricated rumours at times of ethnic/religious tensions.
              I also fell into their trap and wasted time in countering them.
              .
              However look at the huge number of ‘thumb up’s for their comments which is real cause for concern.

              Soma

      • 4
        14

        The question here is not about Buddha. The question is show me where in the Koran it says Muslim dead must be buried. Don’t run away from it. Answer it. If Koran does not say it then it has no validity.

        (Buddhists worship trees, clay things, etc. But that is their superstition just like yours.)

    • 22
      1

      …………it doesn’t say that it should be burnt either? Did lord Buddha say to burn the dead?

  • 20
    8

    Sri Lanka is now a Chinese Colony and that’s the reason why we are following the methods practiced by the Chinese Govt.

    • 16
      5

      b>My dear Buddhist 1.
      .
      As I heard that the prices of daily needs have gone up drastically, I thought of searching for prices prior to GOTLER s election and compared it with that of today s.
      :
      b>See, Rajapakshe have done nothing regarding rapidly increases of prices , even if the oil price reduction concession was kept away from the nation. In Europe, we saved a lot due to dramatic price reduction in oil in the world market. Now only, srilanken people would need to think Mr Mangala Samarawickramas – FORMULAR brought much to the nation. I think looking back, UNP govt under PONLONNARUWE DONKEYs sinister acts, was able to manage it very well.
      .
      b>Prior to Election of GR-MR
      https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/sites/default/files/cbslweb_documents/statistics/pricerpt/price_report_20190930e.pdf
      .
      b>Today just after 1 year of JUNTA REGIME number 2
      https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/sites/default/files/cbslweb_documents/statistics/pricerpt/price_report_20201224e.pdf

      • 7
        16

        Mr. eLM (eternal Loose Motion),
        .
        Who the hell is Mr Mangala Samarawickrama…..?
        .
        Stop lying you idiot.

        • 14
          3

          Ms SCP – please open your eyes. Your colleagues in the business from NY and Hamburg Repa bahn would not behave like you . Please take them as examples.
          .
          Mr Mangala Samarawickrama is one of the good politicians. Thanks to him only your CRIMINALS got freed today. Oil Price Formula saved billions to the nation, but slaves did not give the credit but to Rascals. Wake up man, if not today when ?
          :
          Besides, you the kind of idiots would not care much about ” MILA SUTHRAYA- oil formula” but we do. Entire world does. And Rajakashes criminals fooled you guys to the core as of today. Ms SCP, dont try to attack us, just because your customers became tremendously low due to prevailing COVID restrictions.

          If Ranil W were PM, entire EU would have supported srilanka providing the vaccine, but today, KALI AMMA CONTROLLED MR et al are fallen that deep so that nothing would come up to save the nation.
          :
          Ohoma Yang. You the kind of cheap supporters would never see it right. Get join that DHAMMIKA paniya promoters – that can help us getting you guys out of sights sooner than later.

          • 7
            16

            Mr. eLM (eternal Loose Motion)
            .
            We don’t have any politician named “”Mangala Samarawickrama”” you idiot.
            .
            You fools are living in a alternate universe.
            It has nothing to do with our Sri Lanka.

    • 5
      19

      Buddhist1
      It is better to follow the methods practiced by Chinese who are progressive people than following methods practiced by ‘Moda’ Muslims who live in stone age.

      • 18
        2

        Eagle Eye ,

        Why don’t you check your lines before going into print ?
        Do you now that China is the largest country that has
        the most Myth followers in the world ? What do you think
        they eat snake for ? Why do you Recommend Intelligent
        Non-Muslims to follow Chinese or Indians while eating from
        the West ? I mean when you got Free ‘Parippu’ from the air
        you followed India ! Now you have seaport and air port +
        Covid-19 , and you want to follow China ? When are you going
        to put your ‘bowl’ down ? I mean , follow your own path ?

      • 15
        2

        It is better to be in Stone Age rather than the present plastic age.

    • 14
      2

      This should give us a good idea how the Uighurs must be treated, which would be far, far worse, looks like the Rajapaksa’s are taking their cues from China and Myanmar, when it comes to Sri Lankan minority.

      This should be an eye opener for anyone in the minority, who keep voting for these racists rascals.

    • 2
      6

      Buddhist1,

      Good if true. All Chinese colonies are highly developed (China, HK, Singapore, Taiwan, Macau, rich parts of the UK, Canada, USA, Germany, Australia, Malaysia). God speed Chinese colonization of SL.

  • 6
    14

    I am strongly in favour of permitting Muslims to bury their dead, of course under strict sanitory conditions with the participation of ( mostly non Muslim) morgue workers in full sanitory gear which Muslims wouldn’t object.
    .
    Now let us explore some statistics.
    How many Muslim dead bodies have been cremated so far?
    How many Muslim Covid patients have been treated and cured so far?
    Within the deafening protests all around how many words of grattitude have we heard for saving the lives? (NONE in any of the articles by Muslim writers on CT)

    Will a knowledgeable Muslim writer on this page help us with the the question how many Muslim Covid patients (approximately) have been treated and cured so far.
    .
    Here is an opportunity to demonstrate their ‘sensitivities’ which we are obliged to respect.

    Soma

    • 4
      2

      May I request one of the ‘thumb down’s to explain why?

      Soma

      • 8
        2

        soma,
        .
        It’s because you and other sinhalayo here seem to think that minorities should bow down to you’ll?? (Lol). It’s because in what you say it comes across that you think you have some superiority over minorities, that they should be happy with what the sinhalayo give them.
        .
        As pathetic as such a mindset is, understand one thing; if it wasn’t for the Tamils, Muslims and Christians who have been very successful at business and kind to the sinhalayo to let them be involved in their dealings this backward country would be nowhere. You are still using the railway system that the ‘soodah’ built. How pathetic. The sinhalayo are only good at robbing the innocent tax payers money and begging from foreign governments. Don’t think I’m being too harsh because it might hurt you feelings, I’m only stating the truth.

        • 2
          5

          Sitrep24
          How many Muslim dead bodies have been cremated so far?
          How many Muslim Covid patients have been treated and cured so far by moda sinhalayas?

          Soma

  • 13
    2

    Burial is usually within 24 hours of death to shield the living from any hygienic issues, except in the case of a person killed foul play is doubted. Embalming is meant to temporarily preserve the body of a deceased person body for kept 5 days as done in the past years for the non covid patient and appear to be safe besides flies ants, other Parasitoid wasps are also abundant at dead bodies, laying their eggs inside fly larvae and microbes. As the corpse dries, it becomes less suitable How is that the underground dead body transmit virus. While those who had covid and still live having the chance of spreading.

    • 4
      6

      Cremation is faster. All germs die within minutes. No need to waste land (precious for small SL) either.

  • 20
    4

    Lankan governments play with peoples lives when alive and continue to do so even after dead. Such sadistic creatures and call us as a Buddhist country

    • 17
      3

      Chiv,

      Sadly the truth.

      But we all srilanka is not a buddhist country as written on the information. They are born into BUDDHGAMA, from their practices, they dont repsect the basics of buddhagama, which are the five precepts. I dont think srilanken buddhism can today be interpreted as “buddhism”: Even if any high criminals like DILITH JAYAWEERA or his achors are used to say ” budusaranyi – may you be blessed Buddha”, they are proved to be high criminals. Today DERANA TV and its owner misleads this nation. Be it about the imports of anti COVID drugs/devices or anything else, they twist the mind set of the easy targets, for their selfish gains. Lawyer community and university dons stay as if they are in long slumber. This is the saddest reality but very true.

    • 3
      5

      Lives or the corpses? The dead are not alive.

      • 7
        2

        “the dead are not alive”
        .
        Wow, that’s some in-depth analysis. Which university do you have a doctorate from to be able to make such a medically insightful comment. 👏👏

  • 12
    3

    “Sri Lanka is the only country aside from China which has mandated cremations for suspected coronavirus fatalities, with the government justifying it on the basis of concerns of the virus contaminating groundwater, and that Covid-19 victims’ bodies could be used as “biological weapons … by certain groups”.

    However, the World Health Organization issued guidelines stating that the burial of victims posed no danger to public health, and the United Nations resident coordinator for Sri Lanka and UN regional groups have all written to the Sri Lanka government calling for the Covid-19 dead to be handled with dignity and their religious beliefs respected.

    This week, a statement condemning the lack of justice for those affected by the forced cremations was signed by 24 human rights and advocacy groups. “These measures affect more than one religious group, but it is particularly terrifying Muslims for whom the burial of dead is a non-negotiable religious practice. They feel targeted, bullied and threatened by the manner in which the government is acting on this,” said the statement.” The Guardian UK

    This is the Rajapaksa’s racist method of marginalizing the minority, and discriminating them, to keep their Sinhala Buddhist supporters distracted from their crimes and failure in controlling the pandemic which is increasing in numbers.

    • 4
      8

      Mr.Ashan
      How many Muslim dead bodies have been cremated so far?
      How many Muslim Covid patients have been treated and cured so far?
      .
      While condeming the first show us some grattitude over the second.
      .
      Here is an opportunity to demonstrate your ‘sensitivities’ which we are obliged to respect.

      Soma
      ( I am strongly in favour of permitting the Muslims to bury their dead)

      • 4
        0

        Soma ,

        You missed the most important question ! How did a country
        surrounded by sea get the pandemic ? Why does the rulers
        not respect WHO guidelines on Covid-19 deaths ? Why does
        the rulers promote Dammika Juice but no action to distribute
        the juice to Covid patients ?

        • 1
          1

          whywhy
          Mr.Ashan is not responsible to answer your questions, so I did not burden him with them.
          We are discussing cremation vs. burial.

          Soma

          • 0
            0

            Soma ,

            Thank you for your ‘Clever’ escape ! Nevertheless , Numbers
            don’t start from the top ! This is another point for your safe
            exit ! We don’t have the culture of harming those raising
            both hands up !

  • 14
    3

    “Srilankan present hard line policy………………………… take the country back words…….”‘
    That will be better than the present ,as during the past, 70 years ago, we did not have Racial onslaught by governments on the minorities.

    • 3
      8

      Kanapathy Varunan,
      There was no racial onslaught by governments on the minorities. From the day Sinhalayo became a free nation after been oppressed by colonial rulers for nearly 450 years, majority Sinhalayo who are the Native people in this country experienced racial onslaught by racist separatist Malabar Vellala Demalu (Tamils) who entered Sinhale illegally during colonial rule and obtained citizenship from Sinhalayo when they were abandoned in this country.

      “…as during the past, 70 years ago, we did not have Racial onslaught by governments on the minorities.”

      • 7
        1

        The onslaught started from 1956,58,61,77,83 and the Grand one on 2009.

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