23 January, 2021

Blog

To Burn Or To Bury? The Deadly Question 

By Rajan Philips

Rajan Philips

To burn or to bury? That has become the bedeviling Covid-19 question in Sri Lanka with no respect for the dead and no empathy for those who are left to mourn. According to WHO guidelines, Covid-19 victim’s bodies are not infectious, unless other complications are involved – such as hemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Marburg) or cholera. In general, dead bodies themselves are not infectious, but body fluids are and they secrete even after death. So, there is universal insistence on and compliance with the protocols for handing dead bodies, not only by funeral workers but also by families. But the question, whether cremation or burial, is a redundant question and it has been unnecessarily overwrought. But only in Sri Lanka, and chiefly by the  government itself. 

For perspective, there have been public protests against cremating Covid-19 victims in Kerala and in West Bengal. So, one can argue either way if being argumentative is the be all and end all of patriotism. To their credit, the Indian federal and state governments have allowed both cremation and burial, leaving it to the family but with all hazmat protocols and precautions.

In Sri Lanka, it gets ridiculous. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has apparently asked the Maldivian government if Maldives could help by providing burial funerals for Sri Lankan Muslims who die from Covid-19 infection. That would be a first for any country. Already four UN Special Rapporteurs, not counting the ones at UNHRC, have called on Sri Lanka not to ban Muslim burials but allow them in accordance with WHO guidelines. Is Sri Lanka on course to run afoul of every UN Rapporteur? And why?

Fear Mongering

The fear mongering, not the prudent concern, about groundwater contamination is another fallopian nonsense. As with Caesarian sterilization, as with the Millennium Compact (which the US has now revoked), the government has dug itself another hole while banning graves for Covid-19 victims. If it is feared that graves will contaminate groundwater, it is fair to ask, what about contamination from sceptic tanks? Sanitary flows, landfill leachate, open defecation are potential pathogen carriers, but not necessarily of the coronavirus. Are drones going to be flown around to catch people answering the nature’s call in the most natural way?

Whether burial or cremation, there are safety protocols to be followed even in normal circumstances. There should be a sense of proportion. If a thousand non-infected, non-Covid-19, bodies are cremated at one location, over one week, and not far from a residential area, no one is going to be amused. In fact, there will be hellish fury. Even a hundred bodies will cause concerns, petitions, and protests. Similarly, if a thousand bodies are buried in a very short period, in a small cemetery, and close to wells or surface waterbodies, that would be a matter for grave concern. No one is talking about mass burials or mass cremations in Sri Lanka. The numbers are small, but the shouting is deafening. 

Until late October, even while the burial debate was already in full flames, the total number of Covid-19 deaths was still under 20. Even if all of them were buried in one cemetery, that should not have been a matter for concern. The current death total is 160 and rising. But not all of Covid-19 victims are Muslims, or Christians, requiring a burial. They are a minority in life, in Sri Lanka, and so in death. And not all burials are going to be at the same location. In fact, it will not be a good idea to select a central location for all burials. So, if burials are allowed to take place the way they have been for centuries, the sky will not fall and the ground water is not going to be poisoned. 

Proportionality and risk assessment are among the key considerations that guide the selection and location of public facilities, and that includes cemeteries and crematoriums. While cemeteries and crematoriums serve a spiritual purpose, their operations and maintenance come under more mundane considerations like public safety and environmental protection. 

The Environmental Agency in England has addressed these matters in the context of Covid-19 and the potential risks from increased burials. Notably, the agency has waived the normal permit requirement for local authorities or cemetery operators undertaking new cemetery development or expanding existing cemeteries to accommodate the increased burials during Covid19. It has only provided guidelines for addressing groundwater risks for new cemeteries, but risks due to the increased number of burials, not due to Covid-19. The Agency is not concerned about Covid-19 infection in burials, but only the number of burials relative to their locations. 

England alone has had over 57,000 people die due to Covid-19 so far, and the vast majority of them have been buried. Sri Lanka’s death toll is 160, and a majority of them are cremated. What higher risk would Sri Lanka face by allowing a few dozens of Covid-19 burials at most, than what England and all other countries allowing vastly larger number of burials are facing and dealing with? How did Sri Lanka, and this government particularly, get into such a grave hole, while protesting burials?  

A cabal government?

According to the National People’s Power (NPP) MP Dr Harini Amarasuriya, “a cabal of state officials and their close associates in the business community have been making important government decisions bypassing the prime minister and the cabinet of ministers.” This has been evident for quite some time, and what is also clear is that there is more than one cabal, and that the cabals have got the ear of the President and isolated him from everyone else –  including cabinet of ministers (which is not saying much), even the Rajapaksa family, and most of all its political godfather – the Prime Minister himself. 

The cabals are not limited to state officials and business eople, and include professionals who use their trade union muscle to compensate for their professional inadequacies. The GMOA is the most notorious villain of the piece, but it may not be the only one. In the upshot, the government is unnecessarily complicating matters more than what they already are and they may invariably have to be. The government has become its own arsonist, setting up more fires without putting down any. And letting crisis after crisis to crop up with no end in sight. The burn or bury question is one such crisis. Avoidable and unnecessary. 

The latest manifestations of this cabal power are the ultra vires sacking of the national Medical Council, a statutory body established in 1926, and the upcoming electrocution of the Public Utilities Commission, another statutory body . Before these was the eruption out of nowhere of prison riots which were ministerially attributed to hidden hands; but there are no hidden hands, only the government’s bloodied hands. And in the most bizarre topping to this cabal state of governance, three government ministers, two of them medical professionals, have been publicly partaking in homemade potions of a purportedly Covid-19 vaccine or cure. All of this and more in the middle of a global pandemic and economic shutdowns. 

Not surprisingly, the economy shrank by a whopping 16.3% in Q-2 of 2020, recovering to grow by 1.5% in Q-3, and contracting overall by 5.3% for the first nine months. Hardly the situation for making rosy projections for 2021. And Covid-19 is not letting up at all. It keeps its infections climbing with apparent vengeance after lying low, or undetected, till early October. Infections and deaths have since multiplied ten times and are at the fearsome inflection point for a potentially exponential breakout. This is not a call for panic, but for signs that the government understands what the stakes are and what it takes to get things under control. The signs are anything but! 

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Latest comments

  • 42
    4

    Rajan Philips at his brilliant best. How can anyone beat this piece of immutable logic?:
    “If it is feared that graves will contaminate groundwater, it is fair to ask, what about contamination from sceptic tanks? Sanitary flows, landfill leachate, open defecation are potential pathogen carriers, but not necessarily of the coronavirus. Are drones going to be flown around to catch people answering the nature’s call in the most natural way?”

    And this?:
    “The current death total is 160 and rising. But not all of Covid-19 victims are Muslims, or Christians, requiring a burial. They are a minority in life, in Sri Lanka, and so in death. “

    Poor suffering minorities in Lanka, our collective hearts weep for thee.

    • 23
      2

      Viyath magaof stupid Gota et al is led by Dammika bandara or the like men in Parliament. That fake Prof Jayasumana had turned out to another Prasanna Ranaweera. Not least respect is given to minorities today though they were cheated by Ali Sabry the baggage bound of Rajapakshes for their brutal comeback. 😎😎😎😎😎

    • 1
      8

      The next question is vaccine or not. All vaccines have extracts from swine due to genetic similarity between humans and swine. Stupid superstitions! Mother Nature ensures people who cling on to stupid superstitions are eliminated by the process of evolution.

    • 1
      5

      This is what WHO says about cremation or burial. Nowhere WHO says burial should be allowed!!!

      Burial or cremation

      People who have died from COVID-19 can be buried or cremated according to local standards and family preferences.

      • National and local regulations may determine how the remains should be handled and disposed.

      XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

      • Family and friends may view the body after it has been prepared for burials, in accordance with local customs. They should not touch or kiss the body and
      should perform hand hygiene after the viewing. (6,7)
      • Family and friends should also follow local guidance regarding the number of people that can attend a viewing or burial, and local mask requirements. (6,7,16,22)
      • Those tasked with placing the body in the grave, on the funeral pyre, et cetera, should wear gloves and wash their hands with soap and water after removal
      of the gloves once the burial is complete. (6,7)
      • A body in a body bag or coffin can be treated in accordance with local customs and standards. (6,17)
      • If a body will be buried or cremated without a casket or body bag, use surgical or waterproof rubber gloves to place the body in the grave or the funeral pyre and perform hand hygiene afterwards. (7,8)
      • The number of individual conducting the burial or cremation should be kept at a minimum. (6,7,16)

  • 32
    3

    soman

    The writer asks “To Burn Or To Bury? The Deadly Question “

    Neither.
    The so called strongman is unable to make a decisive decision.
    A man with no brain, no policies, no strong convictions, no mind, ………………………….. without weapons and his own b***s carriers Gota is nothing more than a brainless racist, perhaps a nincompoop.

    What is he waiting for?
    It appears Chandrika had more b***s than this nincompoop.
    He glorifies himself for winning the war, even after 11 years. There is nothing this man could boast about as being his achievement.
    Even the war was won by VP and HIndia for and on behalf of Rajapaksas.

    • 1
      9

      NV
      “The so called strongman is unable to make a decisive decision.
      A man with no brain, no policies, no strong convictions, no mind, ………………………….. without weapons and his own b***s carriers Gota is nothing more than a brainless racist, perhaps a nincompoop.”
      Because Tamils are liars and propaganda masters people thought otherwise.
      Some even thought that these are the necessary qualifications for confronting brainless terror.

      Soma

      • 4
        0

        soman

        When will we know Gota, Kamal, Shavendra, Sarath, Sarath, Senanayake, Ratnayake, Jayasuriya , + 400,000 ..Wijegunaratne, Colombage, ….. ……………….. have already won LTTE and ended the war in the North & East? It appears they are still fighting LTTE and not COVID 19.

        • 2
          5

          LTTE’s entire leadership burnt and the remnant already buried. Heladiva (Sinhalese Aryans Country, Sri Lanka free now) Terrorists Oriented Shits (PEE) cleaners of LTTE no more, now peace-loving decent Tamils are happy now.

          • 5
            2

            N. Perera, the clown from the south. This article is about COVID not the Tamils or the LTTE. Sick bugger, stick to the point. But if you still want the LTTE so badly, currently Karuna amman and Pillayan are working for the Rajapaksas, go and catch them. These are trained mass murderers of the LTTE, who murdered 600 surrendered policemen in cold blood. When they are free to roam the streets of Colombo, why worry about low ranking LTTErs, stupid arse.

  • 30
    2

    We have read the WHO regulations, we have listened to the advice of other international health organizations, and ALL other nations have decided to follow that advice, except here in Rajapaksa’s racist Sri Lanka. Trump took a deadly pandemic and politicized it to win elections, and over here the Rajapaksa’s took a deadly pandemic and turned it into an attack on the minority, all to impress the extremist Buddhist monks, and their base. This was uncalled for.
    We cannot be convinced they are trying to accommodate the minority here, by trying to help them bury their dead. We have seen religious leaders, politicians, and human rights organizations here plead with these racist rascals to rethink their decision, and do what every other country is following, but they won’t budge, as stubborn mules often do. Have we no shame that a much smaller group of islands are offering to bury our dead? Don’t we have enough land to accommodate the minority? Water table? What a load of BS. Let’s face it, the Rajapaksa’s have shown throughout the years that they are not the leaders of ALL Sri Lankans, only their Sinhala Buddhist base. The minority have been discriminated, and made to feel like second class citizens.

  • 23
    1

    The key phrase in this article is ” ….. in Sri Lanka with no respect for the dead and no empathy for those who are left to mourn”. The current practice of shoving the Corona deceased into the crematorium, which is visible from videos seen in the media, shows this. For those who want to cremate the last rites cannot be performed such as “Pansukula” for the Buddhists. For those who want to bury, that is completely out of the question. It is now high time for guidelines to be issued by the relevant authorities describing safe practices conducting funeral rites safely. In the yesteryear lime (not the citrus fruit) was used to ensure a clean decay of the dead body upon its burial. Why go all the way to Maldives when we have a coastline? What about having a grave dug more than 6 feet deep and filling it with sea sand which is full of salt? In Israel, the depth of the grave dug for the corona diseased is 8 feet, instead of the 6 feet. This research can only be done by the authorities. Instead of expressing ifs..buts.. and the doubts the local experts must offer alternatives.

  • 5
    30

    Not a deadly question. It is about disposing corpses.

    One law / treatment for all. No one will go to war over this. If they do they will lose 3% of their population as happened from 1975 to 2009.

    The only long term solution is to divide the island equitably into 3 mono ethnic nations. Sinhala Only Elam, Tamil Elam and Muslim Elam. People in Muslim Elam will be able to bury, have Sharia Law, etc.

    • 14
      4

      May The Lord of Jesus Christ give me the strength to deal with fools on here and the benefit of never having the displeasure of conversing with such foolish people in real life. Honestly. You’re such a mealy mouthed individual who comes on here with its sad propaganda. The sad part is that you and you sad propaganda have been exposed everytime you open your mouth. You solution to every problem is to give the Tamil Eelam a part of the country. A real grade five solution.

      • 2
        7

        Sitrep24
        May the Lord Jesus Christ open the doors of paradise for you at His earliest convenience.

        Soma

        • 5
          3

          What a mealy mouthed comment to curse someone to die !? I guess it shows the dirty black hearts of these moda SBs.
          .
          In an attempt to curse me to die you asked God to give me paradise. XD. What sad fail. It is to be expected of a moda sinhala buddhist to not be able to even make an insult. Pathetic.
          .
          Also there’s no need to sign your name to every comment. We know you’re the one writing those types of comments. moda comments only come from moda people.

          • 4
            0

            It’s bad upbringing, lack of empathy, and ignorance.

          • 2
            0

            Sitrep24
            I prayed only to keep open the doors of paradise.
            You can choose the time to go like Zahran.

            Soma

    • 6
      20

      Pray where is this Muslim Keelam for the Thullkans going to be? Lots of little ghettoes? In the south Thullka villages in Matara and Beruwela? In the Central province in Gampola? In greater Colombo at Maradana and Slave Island? Along the north west coast Puttalam? And last of all in the east where they badly want to establish fake Arab Thulluka homeland by stealing Eezham Thamizh lands, at Kattankudi, Kalmunai and Muttur? All scattered little Wahhabi Islamic Fake Arab Thulluka homeland for low caste Thravidha Thamizh converts from South India., that eventually become a Salafist/Isis headache for the entire region. Especially to India. As if they want another anti Indian Islamic Salafist hell hole , that has no right to be on their southern border. Porukistan and Bangla Thoosanam is not enough. Now a Fake Arab low cast converted Wahhabi nightmare from stolen Eezham Thamizh land. If they want Islamic homeland to bury and have Sharia , Pleas4e migrate to Maldives , that will be soon underwater from climate change, or Saudi Arabia , where you can really pretend to be a Wahhabi Arab and grow date palms, wear Bourka and plan suicide bombing infidels or even go to Porikistan, that was created for South Asian Islamic porrukis. Please no homeland around my Pandicherri.

  • 4
    31

    Pushing the burial issue is very dangerous. If burial is allowed it will create a lot of hatred, disgust and retaliation within the tribal SL community. Over 95% of medical, PHI and military personnel handling the COVID-19 crisis are from one tribe that is most opposed to burial. Getting them off side at this time is not good. They will deliberately neglect (or worse) Muslim patients thereafter. No one will be willing to do post mortem on COVID-19 dead anyway!

    Then there is the other danger of people accusing burial for spike in COVID-19 spread thereafter. The government will happily lower health spending letting a rise knowing that this will help their racist agenda right in time for the PC election.

    This is the sad reality of tribal SL. Best thing not to arouse the hornets’ nest.

  • 32
    2

    According to WHO guidelines, Covid-19 victim’s bodies are not infectious.

    Who guided the doctors to say Covid-19 victim’s bodies are infectious.

    • 19
      1

      RBH59, You ask a question who guided the doctors which the author has already answered. The TU villains cover up their inadequacies by killing competitors. See what they did to the whole medical profession putting deceptive fear in the desperate action of a minister. PM now has to save her, which I hope is not at the heavy expense of butchering the future medical profession. Were all previous plagued bodies in world cremated. God help us all.

    • 24
      4

      The answer to your question is racist child abusing frustrated monks, the moda sinhala media and the moda sinhala buddhists.
      .
      You have a few of those moda SBs on here; however much it is explained and proven beyond reasonable doubt to them, they will continue to believe their unfounded false claims.

      • 8
        17

        sitrep24
        Sinhalayo are smarter than ‘Moda’ Muslims who still live in ‘Stone Age’ and come out with fabricated stories to see whether they can fool them.
        Have you got any evidence to prove that Muslims who were cremated did not reach their desired destination?
        ===
        “The answer to your question is racist child abusing frustrated monks, the moda sinhala media and the moda sinhala buddhists.”

        • 11
          5

          Oh no, you actually made an argument soo stupid. Is that best defence you have to support your moda people’s policies ? How pathetic. Maybe you should wait for that moda SB who tries to whitewash the crimes of the moda SBs by hiding behind nonsensical arguments.
          .
          Let’s move onto the bigger issues at hand. Here s a list of reasons as to why buddhism is nothing but folk lore and should not be considered at all a religion:
          .
          1). If you consider buddha to be god, then why is he dead ? Shouldn’t god be ever living/ always existed ? Much like the buddha statues that were destroyed due to natural disasters or humans, what is the point of worshipping and seeking help from someone/something that is unable to help themselves ?
          .
          2). If you consider buddha to be god then how come he does not have perfect knowledge/all knowing/omniscient ? Didn’t he unknowingly eat human flesh ?
          .
          3). If the buddhist folk lore of rebirth is to be considered then as the number of lowlife scum bags in the world increase it should be followed by a steep fall in the population of humans as they are not reborn as humans but lower animal forms.

          • 8
            1

            Cont.
            .
            The world has seen countless evils from the world wars and genocides that have taken place in the last decade, but the population of the world has only increased, exponentially going past multiple billions in milestones. Which proves beyond a doubt that the concept of rebirth is nothing but a joke.
            .
            All these points are predicated on the fact that we take as truth the words of a bunch of political opportunists dressed in the international symbol for South East Asian terrorism (i.e. the siwura). Just in the last few months we have seen these mealy mouthed individuals lie about water snakes, clay pots and pani beema. I won’t believe these guy if they say that ‘water is wet’, let alone take any sense of God consciousness or religiosity from these people.

  • 21
    5

    This is only done to appease the child absuing frustrated monks, moda sinhala media and moda sinhala buddhists.
    .
    The world must take a serious stance against these moda sinhala buddhists. They think they can oppress the minorities and get away with it. This policy of forced cremation has crossed lines that should have even come near. I really hope the world’s nations punish these moda sinhala buddhists through sanctions and travel bans, failing to do so will result in these racists going and settling down in foreign countries after plundering this country.

    • 3
      1

      1. We welcome debate and dissent, but personal attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), persistent trolling and mindless abuse will not be tolerated.
      .
      Is this is a joke? CT has become a vehicle for the minorities to spew out their hatred for everything Sinhala and Buddhist. The fools running it do not care that it has been
      hijacked.

      • 2
        0

        Dear Stanley.
        What a welcome comment. I myself have been trying to do my little bit to further this same ideology, and in one instance, (only once) was there such retaliation that it became very tiresome.
        However we live in hope that some time in the future, the unnecessary acrimony and name calling will dwindle down to a trickle and there will be courteous exchange of ideas for the mutual benefit of all.
        After all this is the Week of Goodwill.
        Cheers.

        • 0
          1

          ” What a welcome comment. I myself have been trying to do my little bit to further this same ideology, and in one instance, (only once) was there such retaliation that it became very tiresome. “

          I want to thank you first for your welcome address to Stanley’s comment. Stanley is no different anything from our education minister, whom respected by you a lot. If anyone is presented, in Stanley’s way of wrapping dung in silk, it is worth to throw it back on the givers face. So Stanley has been taking lot of retaliations back in CT.
          But the noble part between you and Stanley is he was never a hypocrite or hiding his mind, but an open a fiery defender of War Criminal government & its crimes.
          For your hatred on CT not relenting to your wish to suppress comment against you “The fools running it do not care …… hijacked. “ which is in response to The world must take a serious stance against these moda sinhala buddhists. from sitrep24, is welcome comment towards CT owners.
          Moda-Sinhalese;
          Modar-Tamil;
          Fool- English.
          “ Sinhala Modaya” is an old Wiseman phrase in Sinhala Language. You claimed you are a Sinhala Buddhist in CT.
          “Hope…… unnecessary acrimony……… will dwindle “ Hopefully you would tame your hypocrisy, soon.
          Thanks.

        • 1
          0

          Ferryman, I didn’t think CT would accept my post as it was critical of them, I have to thank them. The comments are not only against the Sinhalese and Buddhists. As CT is run by exiled journalists, it seems that any obscenity, any comment, any filth is acceptable as long as it is anti-Rajapakse. I hold no brief for this criminal family but is this what responsible journalism is about?

      • 2
        0

        S&F
        Be fair.
        There are some among minorities who know nothing better. Do you also not recognize voices of sanity among writers of articles and comments?
        There are mischievous Sinhalese voices that are unduly offensive and provocative. (Do not ask me for a list. You may already have it.)
        I concede something however: the average Sinhalese resorts far less to personal abuse than his Tamil counterpart.
        There is a civilized way to plead a case without insulting persons and communities. We have some way to go in this business.
        There are also those who constantly curse the country and wish it ill simply to spite the government, which I am not an admirer of either.
        *
        A comment critical of any form of parochial thinking is not necessarily an attack on a community.

        • 0
          1

          ” I concede something however: the average Sinhalese resorts far less to personal abuse than his Tamil counterpart.
          Is that why you openly challenge to ridicule Tamils” comments, supporting racist Sinhala Buddhists? Good path, but be aware you may see pebble & boulders on that path. Then hiding won’t help.

      • 1
        1

        Stanley

        “CT has become a vehicle for the minorities to spew out their hatred for everything Sinhala and Buddhist.”

        You got everything wrong.
        I hope you wouldn’t want to accuse me of being a racist for saying you are wrong. I have no problem with Sinhalese nor with Buddhists. In fact most of my good friends are Sinhalese and Buddhist. As you know since the advent of Anagarika the Sinhalese and Buddhists have been mutating into a new breed, which they call Sinhala/Buddhists. They are not only danger to minorities but also endangering Sinhalese and Buddhists as people. We know this is a noisy minority but at times very destructive.

        To prevent them from self destructing we the silent majority needs to kick, scream and stop them destroying the country.

        You seems to be innocuous person I wonder why doesn’t it occur to you that there is a bunch of racist, murderous, looters, …. out there bent on destroying the island and there is a urgent need to stop them.

        You should have a word two with Sarath Weerasekera who has been campaigning to ban every little thing that he doesn’t like, may consider banning access to CT in Sri Lanka as he would manufacture consent among his supporters.

        A lot of people wonder how this man’s partner (if he has one) puts up with him this racist, fascist, bigot.

    • 0
      1

      Dear “sitrep24”,

      .
      PART ONE
      .
      Some weeks back I saw that another reader had told you, Sitrep, that you are so consumed by hatred of certain groups that you should consult a (psychologist) counsellor.
      .
      You had been attacking “Moda Sinhala Buddhists”, there as here.
      .
      I told you that the comment was possibly one that was kindly meant.
      .
      Let me tell you that I have never identified as a Buddhist. People usually follow the religion that they were raised in. My background is Anglican. This is not something that I am now inventing to argue against you. Please see this:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-anglican-church-annual-diocesan-council-a-jaffna-perspective/
      .
      I have written long comments at the very bottom of that page.
      .
      Although not a Buddhist, I think that if I were to point out the following features of Buddhism knowledgeable Buddhists would grant most of them, although they’d point out that some things are clumsily put.
      .
      1. Gauthama was not a god, he was a man who lived for 80 years.
      He attained “Enlightenment”, after which he was referred to as “Buddha”.

    • 0
      0

      PART TWO
      .
      2. All that talk of “re-birth” was taken over from the Hindu religion which formed the backdrop to the Buddha’s own intellectual heritage, much as the Jewish belief in the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Flood, and the Ten Commandments received by Moses, formed the backdrop to the teachings of Jesus. I have been told that literal belief in re-birth is not essential to understand Buddhism. “Nibbana” is the overcoming of what is unsatisfactory in human life. It is however interpreted by most as escape from the cycle of births and suffering.
      .
      3. You have cherry-picked
      foolish things done “in the name of Buddhism” to condemn the Philosophy. Buddhism is not a “religion” in the sense in which the Abrahamic Faiths are religions.” Buddhists “respect” the Buddha, they don’t “worship” him in the way that Christians worship “God”. You cannot dismiss as “non-Christian” some of the most dedicated and learned Christians on the grounds that your own Christian sect is different. Please read up on this Saintly Man, and see if you can excuse the barbaric treatment he received from other Christians.
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Servetus
      .

    • 0
      0

      PART THREE
      .
      Just above a comment by you, sitrep24 is a comment by “davidthegood”
      .
      4. A few days ago, I told “davidthegood” that I thought him mistaken in some of his beliefs. He is a Christian who sets great store by the miraculous elements in Christianity, which to me were always unnecessary distractions. It is clear that “davidthegood” is not a man whose practice of religion is such that he sets out to give offence to others, as I’m afraid,”sitrep24″, you do.

      Although I’m pretty fed up with organised religion, I’m a guy who sees much that is good in the unpretentious practices of religions and philosophies. In fact, the problem with organised religions is that they often go against what the founder intended.
      .
      For instance, Jesus forbade the swearing of oaths. I first came across that when I was seventeen years old in Tolstoy’s interpretation of Christianity. Within a year of that, I found that the Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers), an essentially English group, had held fast to much that Tolstoy later affirmed after translating the New Testament from Greek to Russian.

    • 0
      0

      PART FOUR

      I had to read Tolstoy’s views in English, obviously. No, not so obviously. I should have looked for it in Sinhala, but unfortunately “Sinhala_Man” has to confess that he’s a bit of a “Thuppahiya”.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_5:34

      .
      I hope that you have read the shortish entry above. This next expands that in relation to Quaker practice.
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testimony_of_integrity
      .
      Yes, practice. I think that it was the same Voltaire who mocked all religions that acknowledged William Penn’s treaty with the Delaware Native Americans to be the only treaty that was “never sworn and never broken.”
      .
      Regrettably, I don’t know of any Quakers currently in Sri Lanka, but I have been to about fifty Quaker Meetings. At most of those meetings there were Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and even Atheists who held that Men had made gods in their own image.
      .
      I should like to humbly suggest to you that you have much that you could learn from Quakers about how to speak of other religions.
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quakers
      .
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe NIC 48 3111 444V aka “Sinhala_Man”

  • 4
    18

    Dear Rajan

    Thank you for a brilliant analysis.

    I have one question though…..GOSL needed to make a common policy how to manage the Pandemic at some point at the beginning.

    When the respective experts/committees/officials met they would have drawn a common policy on certain matters to govern such management?

    Therefore is it possible this decision of non burial was one of those decisions without any prejudice?? we would not have known we could manage with very low death rates then nor do we know what is around the corner now? hence at times one need to stick to certain decisions that we made earlier also signs of good governance? we do not have to follow others all the time??

    I alway feel we as citizens are very unruly and have made a mountain out off molehill since the Independence on “all matters” to have the current state of affairs that is now governing the Covid scenario too??that is partisan discussions??

    Personally I would use this opportunity to go electric incineration/retort as a standard/law for “all” in the future as a progressive Nation addressing land space issue/wood wastage/air pollution issues in general a good environmental solution for all?? that the world need to follow too? could this be a better way to respect the loved ones than we think??

    • 6
      12

      HIgh Vennu Kutti , Since you enjoy Thamizh Christmas songs here is another one for you

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2q33ga4FUA

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yvfwcqp7Fbg

      • 2
        10

        Thullukans coming here and down voting Thamizh Christian songs. I told you these fake Arab low caste converts from Thamizh Nadu are fanatics and now hate their own Thamizh origin and run behind Arabs . Now this has been proven This is why they largely bombed Thamizh Christian churches in Easter,. Hate their own Thamizh origin and heritage but want everything from the Thamizh. These people can never be trusted and are dangerous, Down voting Thamizh Christian songs during Christmas period proves what brain washed religious fanatics these people are

    • 5
      3

      T.V. We are discussing ramifications re Covid-19 Management, in
      tribal Sri Lanka here entwined in racial politics. Your suggestion is
      compulsory and only means of burial by law, say as in Hong Kong etc.
      Don`t the Muslim Countries in the world take note of this strange
      happening or Rules in tribal SL?

      • 2
        5

        Dear P

        I am not following what you saying pls?

  • 18
    1

    This is a very fine article. The author’s reasoning makes a lot of sense.
    “Are drones going to be flown around to catch people answering nature’s call in the most natural way?”
    Actually, I hear plans are afoot to implement this measure. Wimal Weerawansa has been appointed as head of this unit.

  • 13
    1

    “………….and that the cabals have got the ear of the President and isolated him from everyone else – including cabinet of ministers (which is not saying much), even the Rajapaksa family, and most of all its political godfather – the Prime Minister himself.”

    Also true in the Cremation issue. It seems the Rajapakse family itself is divided on this issue with the younger brother, Basil favouring the PM who has no objections to burial, while the President is seeking help from Maldives for burial. The President sought Maldivian help ONLY after the PM instructed the Health Officials to provide him a list of areas suitable for burial.

    The President’s choice of Maldives seems quite strange given the cost and logistic problems and non-consultation with the affected people – the Muslims – who are not at all in favour. In any case, it appears, that the proposal has come under objections in Maldives from many sections of the country and is unlikely to be given the green light.

    There are also protests against “Cremation Only” policy of the govt, gaining momentum, both locally and internationally, which is bound to create more problems to Sri Lanka internationally from the Human Rights view point.

    All in all, it appears that the “Cremation Only” policy is an ill-thought and arrogant idea, sans discussion within the ruling family itself.

  • 2
    1

    T.V. We are discussing ramifications re Covid-19 Management, in
    tribal Sri Lanka here entwined in racial politics. Your suggestion is
    compulsory and only means of burial by law, say as in Hong Kong etc.
    Don`t the Muslim Countries in the world take note of this strange
    happening or Rules in tribal SL?

  • 7
    2

    Cremation is very much an Eastern custom, whereas, the Christian & Muslim countries burial is customary, although, cremation in Christian countries is becoming popular as it is a relatively low cost option. Millions have died from Corona virus all over the world & the bodies have been buried, sometimes in mass graves. It is known that bodies contaminated with radiation are buried in lead lined coffins or in concrete graves & Ebola victim were cremated, therefore, would the authorities in these countries, including the WHO, allow burial for traditional & religious reasons if there is a possibility of the virus spreading through ground water contamination from buried bodies?
    In SL, the decision has been taken on the advise of a panel of experts but, in my understanding, there have been no virologists in the panel, nor any confirmation by the country’s eminent scientists. Seems to me that the govt., having no clue or strategy to combat the pandemic, is indirectly creating chaos & promoting ‘snake oil’ & the intervention of divine spirits through state controlled media to shift the focus from the pending disaster in the country. The Muslims are the pawns in the current game of politics but the joke is sending bodies to Maldives for burial. Is it ethical to ask bodies to be sent for burial to another country when we think it is bad for us to do so in our country?

    • 2
      0

      R-UK
      The government needs no panel of experts but people with commonsense. Having started with a false step, the government tries to justify it.
      *
      Why is it that this is the only country that debates the issue?
      Cannot you smell malice somewhere?
      *
      BTW
      The ancient South Asian custom was burial in special urns.
      The urn carried the identity of the dead. That is one of the oldest forms of writing known in South Asia.
      Cremation came about with “Sanskritization”.
      Buddhist practice varies with context.
      *
      In Tibet, firewood was scarce, and the ground often not suitable for burial, so the unusual practice of feeding the body to vultures or other animals developed….this practice is known as Sky burial.
      *
      While mummification does occur as a funeral custom in a variety of Buddhist traditions, it is not a common practice; cremation is more common. Many Mahayana Buddhist monks noted in their last testaments a desire for their students to bury them sitting in a lotus posture, put into a vessel full of coal, wood, paper and/or lime and surrounded by bricks, and be exhumed after approximately three years.[18] The preserved bodies would be painted with paints and adorned with gold. Many were so respected that they were preserved by their students.
      (Plenty more on Wikipedia)

  • 4
    16

    . This is a pandemic that has been around for about 1 year at most.

    No one knows for sure if and how the virus survives.

    The panel of experts is most likely erring on the side of caution, and for very good reason Once the panel of experts do not agree they are asking the president of the prime minister to take an executive decision. And as soon as they do it they will be blamed. and if the status of covid worsens to be like India or Britan all the blame will be on the decision takers. This is the reality. All the experts here pontificating will turn on a dime and get to their favorite pastime of bashing the govt.

    This affects both Christians and Muslims.

    But these idiot Muslims want to find their 70 or 700 virgins.

    Why do these donkeys want virgins? they know nothing anyway. In any case there is no proven cases of thambias getting to heaven. (as far as I know – ) So I say lets stick to science and forget these morons.

    • 2
      6

      a14455
      “In any case there is no proven cases of thambias getting to heaven.”
      Why not?
      Their opportunity to live among the Sinhala Buddhist majority.

      Soma

      • 2
        1

        soman

        “Their opportunity to live among the Sinhala Buddhist majority.”

        Your brethren seems to be doing well. Why don’t you join them in your ancestral homeland. South India?

        Look at indexes, your people are doing very well up there:

        LAW AND ORDER
        1. Tamil Nadu (2017 rank: 2)
        2. Bihar (2017 rank: 20)
        3. Kerala (2017 rank: 3)

        INFRASTRUCTURE
        1. Gujarat (2017 rank: 2)
        2. Tamil Nadu (2017 rank: 4)
        3. Punjab (2017 rank: 7)


        BEST PERFORMING RANKINGS
        ECONOMY
        1. Maharashtra (2017 rank: 9)
        2. Gujarat (2017 rank: 3)
        3. Karnataka (2017 rank: 6)
        4. Uttarakhand (2017 rank: 4)
        5. Tamil Nadu (2017 rank: 15)

        AGRICULTURE
        1. Punjab (2017 rank: 8)
        2. Haryana (2017 rank: 13)
        3. Uttar Pradesh (2017 rank: 18)
        4. Tamil Nadu (2017 rank: 9)

        EDUCATION
        1. Himachal Pradesh (2017 rank: 1)
        2. Kerala (2017 rank: 7)
        3. Tamil Nadu (2017 rank: 12)

        HEALTH
        1. Jammu and Kashmir (2017 rank: 5)
        2. Kerala (2017 rank: 9)
        3. Himachal Pradesh (2017 rank: 1)
        4. Tamil Nadu (2017 rank: 6)

        INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT
        1. Chhattisgarh (2017 rank: 17)
        2. West Bengal (2017 rank: 13)
        3. Tamil Nadu (2017 rank: 6)
        ….
        …..
        You should consider going back to your people.
        Tamil Nadu will look after you with housing, education, employment (you will have work harder if you are going to withstand serious competition.

        • 2
          1

          Native
          No one wishes the development of Tamil Nadu in every aspect like me. Kallatonis will go back in speed boats.
          .
          I wish you included Sri Lanka in your list of comparison.
          .
          You may acknowledge those who blocked estate Tamils going back to Indiia commited a serious crime.

          I wish India considers granting dual citizenship to all Tamils even at this late stage.
          Now before you jump on your hind legs let me emphasize that ‘dual’implies a free choice , not compulsion. Imagine the freedom Basil Rajapaksa enjoing today. Poor Gotabaya had to up one because of your Yahapalana guys.

          Soma

          • 2
            2

            Chomavati /Chomiah or Chomapalan, why stop with the Thamizh? They can also grant dual citizenship to the Chingkallams and Thullukans as the vast majority of them are descended from largely low caste immigrants from Thamizh Nadu and Kerala . They can make the entire island part of India and give citizenship to everyone , this includes you and the problem is solved,. We all arrived from the Indian mainland at some time or another

            • 1
              0

              P.K.
              I wish I had the Indian dual citizenship.
              The problem is if it becomes reciprocal all the Tamil Nadu will land here.

              Soma

        • 1
          1

          Dear NV

          In 1970 we were one the best Developed Nation Indexes applied amongst the developing countries.

          The currency value 1 SL Rupee = 2 + Indian Rupee. This is when GG and Amir lost their elections in Jaffna……..and FP and TC joined to form TUF/TULF for a Separatist cause.

          Should the Indian workers in the upcountry returned to their Nation then they would be enjoying the best life style according to your details above. How unfortunate.

          We all be living a normalise too in SL.

  • 1
    1

    Denmark is digging up millions of buried, Covid infected Mink. They are to be incinerated. It is the surest way of preventing a catastrophe. Sri Lanka should ignore primitive superstitions and cremate all those who have died of Covid.
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/covid-mink-killed-denmark-exhumed-incinerated-b1777073.html

    • 0
      0

      PART ONE
      .
      Stanley,

      .
      I grant that you (and GATAM, who may be a “liberal” Muslim) have a point. My point here is that millions of mink were buried.
      .
      However, we are talking here of only a handful of humans who have died of COVID (and some, mostly Muslims) being buried. I think that certain cemeteries could be ruled out owing to ground-water issues, etc.
      .
      The whole point here is that this policy was not introduced owing to health reasons (there may be some possibility of COVID spreading) but owing to hatred of Muslims. That is what they also resent – I think with justification.
      .
      Why not look at it in these ways:
      .
      1) Death is inevitable for all of us – in the not too distant future. Even a child born today will be dead 125 years from now: that has always been the case. In many societies (even today) newborn children are destroyed (unacceptable, but effectively ensuring in many cases that defective genes are weeded out).

      .
      Please note that I’m not recommending that; only stating that such things happen in evolution. We aim to be more ethical.

    • 0
      0

      PART TWO
      .
      There was such destruction of “unsuitable children” in ancient Greece – think of Sophocles’ play “Oedipus, the King” where the move backfires. Today, many foetuses are aborted – we dislike it but it is a fit subject for debate.
      .
      1 a) look at this article:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/a-philosopher-emperor/
      .

      It is beautifully written by a Professor of English, who realises that his own death is not far off. It is not everyone who can read such “fine writing”. Please don’t imagine that I’m insulting many of you readers. Not everybody need be a scholar of English. I’m halfway there having been a “gambada ingirisi iskole mahattaya”. Just two nights ago I sat up and read in the Wikipedia about Marcus Aurelius. How much Marcus suffered is incredible. Eight of his thirteen children (only one wife who had eleven confinements – there were two sets of twins) died before his wife and he did. He bore it all without allowing himself to be bitter. This sort of thing was not so uncommon then; we refuse to face up to the inevitability of Death. Not all Muslims will accept my reasoning! I’m only asking that we act wisely.

    • 0
      0

      PART THREE
      .
      2. Since Easter 2019 (and even earlier) there has been a good deal of Islamophobia. It is impossible to separate this cremation issue from all that. If Muslims were convinced that it was Health concerns alone that mattered here, there wouldn’t have been all this heartburn.
      .
      3. China is the only other country that insists on cremation. Listen to what WHO says, and listen to what many experts including Professor Malik Peiris (a Sinhalese, resident in Hong Kong which is owned by China) are saying.
      .
      4. Think of the COVID being spread by people going to Dhammika Bandara’s house for his “peniya” not observing “social distancing”.
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/desperate-times-need-desperate-measures-so-comes-kegalle-peniya/
      .
      That article has a lot about foolishness, and now there are reports of crowds congregating on Christmas Day, in Kegalle.
      .
      BTW, readers, you would do well to actually click on the link given by Stanley and study the huge differences in circumstances, timing and numbers between the handful of Mulim COVID victims in Sri Lanka, and the mink in Denmark.
      .
      The distortions disappoint me, Stanley.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

    • 0
      0

      PART FOUR
      .
      Think of how all human beings have to face Death, and how much respect we must accord those who don’t unnecessarily cause others to suffer. How much are we making some Muslims to suffer – it may be because they are superstitious, but the suffering is real, and the steps we are taking backwards from reconciliation are tragic.
      .
      The COVID is now spreading in Sri Lanka at the rate of about 500 per day. Even if you don’t want to accept what the scientists are saying, do you think that allowing burial of some COVID victims will cause more than one or two infections? Now, that also is unlikely. Isn’t it sensible to avoid conflict with a million Muslims, almost all of whom are NOW unhappy with this being forced on them? It is now too late for us to convince any of them – or even me – that this insistence on cremation is based on clear and rational scientific thinking.
      .
      Are you really more intent on forcing all minority groups to kneel before you, or to foster reconcilliation?

      .
      Panini Edirisinhe NIC 48 3111 444V aka “Sinhala_Man

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