8 March, 2021

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To Permit Burial Will Be A Politically Wise Decision

By Mass L. Usuf

Mass Usuf

This column attempts to address a different perspective on the burial or cremation disagreement. Therefore, no in-depth references will be made to science, myth or racism which are often associated with the issue.

Focus is directed on the subjects of Procedural Justice and Social Justice. Though the word justice is used, it is not in relation to law or the legal system. The objective is to focus on these two areas in order to ascertain their psychological impact on the masses. In turn, to provide an understanding of the empirical changes in the perception about the President, Prime Minister and the government. Extending the discussion further, crass deficiency in social justice locally can also have international ramifications. 

The primary argument is built on the premise of the (Heta nama lakshaya) sixty-nine lakh so called Sinhala voter base and the domineering influence of a certain section of the monks (a handful). The Heta nama lakshaya is itself a flawed argument but not relevant to this column. Generally, government decisions are taken based on merits but the issue of burial or cremation is a maverick exception to this norm. This is where the fairness of any deliberative procedure in the decision-making process has been compromised. Why so, perhaps to satisfy the arbitrarily decided preferred direction to suit the obstinacy of one or several. This is an inappropriate display of power but with a cost attached to it.

Psychological Impact

Researchers studying the outcome of unfair decision-making have remarked on its psychological impact on the masses. Those who have experienced unfairness directly and, those who have witnessed it happening to others, begin to lose confidence in the government and its top administrators.  

The conditions for procedural justice have been recognized under six criteria: (a) consistent application, (b) lack of bias, (c) availability and use of accurate information, (d) ability to appeal and correct flawed decisions, (e) ethicality, and (f) representativeness. (Leventhal & Others, 1980).

The failure of the government to consider these qualitative factors in policy formulation and being unfair and unjust prejudicially will shift loyalty. On 09 November 2020, the response to a web poll conducted (though not scientific) by the Daily Mirror provides some sense to the analysis of what the government does and what the masses think that the government is doing. To the question, ‘Do you feel that the government has a clear and consistent policy to combat the current Covid 19 outbreak’, the response was a staggering 95.2%,  “NO”.  

A major part of this dissatisfaction, inter alia, may be safely attributed to the burial and cremation issue which unnecessarily has invited wide national and international interest. The government must realise at least now that they have placed themselves in a serious predicament. The unprofessional manner in which they have handled the burial issue is inacceptable.

Neural Sensitivity To Justice

The average person is not a scholar of procedural justice and the conditions which go to justify it. However, common sense prevails in the reasonable man. When people perceive decision-making procedures have not conformed to what is manifestly clear and just, the natural instinct of fairness and reasonableness are triggered. The example of the unsubstantiated and unscientific stand of the government denying burial on the face of scientifically evidenced facts, is a case in point. Research has shown that when individuals perceive decision-making procedures as unfair, they express less commitment to the organization administering them and a less willingness to engage in voluntary actions on the organization’s behalf (Colquitt, 2001).

The Journal of Neuroscience of 19 March 2014 in a study of ‘Justice Sensitivity Predicts Neural Response ….’ notes as follows:

“Morality is a fundamental component of human cultures and has been defined as prescriptive norms regarding how people should treat one another, including concepts such as justice, fairness, and rights. This study provides important knowledge on how individual differences in justice sensitivity impact neural computations that support psychological processes involved in moral judgment and mental-state reasoning.” (Keith J. Yoder and Jean Decety).

When the people learn that they have been taken for a ride by the professionals and the authorities, the tide would obviously turn against them. This fact is proven by a recent web poll conducted by the same local newspaper the Daily Mirror on 12 December 2020. A whopping 81.9% voted in favour of allowing burial with restrictions. The level of disagreement earlier in terms of numbers against burial seems to have diminished. The diminution can be attributed to the availability of new evidence that burial is a safe mode of disposal of the covid 19 infected deaths.

Social Justice In Politics

Social justice concerns are typically regarded to be moral concerns. Research reveals, for example, if someone is treated unfairly in a given society, people generally regard this to be morally wrong. Communication Psychology Professor Tobias Rothmund, writes, ‘social justice depends upon procedures, norms, and rules that govern political decisions to preserve the basic rights, liberties, and entitlements of individuals and groups.’ (The Psychology of Social Justice in Political Thought …”).

Leventhal studies (ibid.) show that inconsistency in the application of policies, bias, inaccurate information, not correcting wrong decisions, lack of ethics all symbolizes the direct conflict with the norm of procedural justices. The burial issue is an excellent case study in this regard because it has all these ingredients which defies procedural justice and social justice. They psychologically impact on the neural sensitivity to moral judgment and sense of justice in the people.

A subsequent web poll held by the Daily Mirror on 18 January 2021 accentuates this analysis. Here, it was asked that the government in 2021 should focus on the following:

1) Conducting provincial council polls – 0.3%

2) Boosting tourism – 1.1%

3) Repatriating migrant workers – 2.8%

4) Obtaining Covid 19 vaccine – 8.2%

5) Resolve dispute over burial and cremations – 87.6%

A large majority (87.6%) had voted demanding a resolution to the dispute over burial and cremation. This gives an indicator of how important procedural and social justice are and the manner in which these can psychologically affect the thinking of the masses. The consequence will be that the President, Prime Minister and the government before long will find the 69-lakh vessel almost empty due to the slow leakage from it.

Hyped-Up Nonsense

The religio-cultural and ethnic trauma that people experience due to basic human rights violations impact even on stable governance initiatives. It is good to stop this hyped-up nonsense of burial being a danger to the living humans. This lie cannot be sustained any further. If the government does not act in time, the 69-lakhs will gradually dissipate based on the psychological sensitivity of the people to what should be fair, reasonable and just.

In this context Covid 19 infected cadavers should be allowed for burial secured as per the WHO and Ministry of Health guidelines. And, as per the wishes of the dead person or the family members, those who want to be cremated be allowed to do so. 

Pansakula

Irrespective of whether it is a burial or a cremation, the government should also allow the religious rituals to be conducted maintaining health guidelines. The Buddhists should be allowed to have their pansakula and other rituals for their beloved departed. Similarly, for all the other religions too. The unfounded and unscientific fear has to be kicked aside. Lies will have to be replaced with the truth and science be embraced. This should be the way of ensuring the rights of the living persons. The way to protect and respect the dignity of the dead person, who cannot fight for his rights.

To continue to deny this right to the people under the delusion of losing the heta nama lakshaya and the handful of monks is going to be costly. As stated earlier, this voter base will gradually fizzle off as more and more people begin to see the truth. A phenomenon that can be seen evolving with the availability of scientific evidence and the experts voicing their support for burial.

It has been said that the more political authorities are seen as satisfying the criteria for procedural justice, the more they are perceived as trustworthy, legitimate, and entitled to lead. The time is right for those in the government to urge the Executive President to take a firm executive decision and permit burial. Such a firm decision will earn the respect of the heta nama lakshaya which is in fact, the critical mass.  

The average reasonable man among the heta nama lakshaya at his own level also evaluate rules, procedures and systems to see if they are fair and just. They are all not fools. “There is an abundance of evidence that political authorities and institutions are viewed as more legitimate when they exercise their authority through procedures that people experience as fair.” (Leventhal 1980).

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Latest comments

  • 21
    7

    When the whole world other than China and Sri Lanka not permitting Covid burial shows how backward Sri Lankan politicians of the Government are. World Health Organization has said that burial can be allowed. This decision of Sri Lankan government is a RACIST decision. Rajapakses FAIL- SLPP FAIL – Yuthukama Org FAIL – Vyath Maga (now Noyana Maga) FAIL.

    • 17
      4

      It shows that Sri Lanka has taken the racist path that China has taken, the terrible discrimination of Muslims, the brainwashing, and the mistreatment of those people, and choosing racist policies condemned by the rest of the world.

      Nandasena is NOT wise. None of the Rajapaksa’s are wise. They may be cunning and crooked, but their actions do not show wisdom, no intention to lead by uniting instead of dividing the country, and it shows their stubbornness and arrogance when it comes to observe WHO regulations. Their foolishness will result in Sri Lanka looked upon as a pariah nation, and it will hurt this country in all our efforts to get world help, which we cannot exist without. As usual the Rajapaksa’s will turn to China of course, and that help will come with many strings attached.
      We have already given them chunks of this country. Let’s give them more.

      • 5
        23

        Ashan,
        “Nandasena is NOT wise. None of the Rajapaksa’s are wise.”
        Those unwise people managed to fk LTTE Tamil terrorists who bragged that they cannot be defeated militarily.

        “no intention to lead by uniting instead of dividing the country,”
        ‘Para’ people who slaughtered Sinhalayo who are the Native people in Sinhale (Sri Lanka) for three decades to divide the country talk about uniting the country. Demalu failed to divide the country, so uniting is not an issue.

        • 2
          3

          Sri Lanka’s shame:
          ” Sri Lanka’s requirement to cremate anyone who dies from Covid-19 goes against public health guidance and discriminates against the Muslim community, Human Rights Watch said today. The government’s spurious argument that burial in accordance with Islamic tradition poses a public health risk stigmatizes, oppresses, and causes immense distress to a vulnerable minority.

          The Sri Lankan government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has claimed that burying people who died of Covid-19 complications may “contaminate ground water.” It has not changed the policy, first codified in a March 31, 2020 regulation, despite World Health Organization guidelines that burial is safe, and growing opposition from United Nations experts, medical professionals in Sri Lanka, and religious leaders of all major faiths in the country. Among those cremated against the wishes of their family have been a 20-day-old infant and a woman whom the authorities later acknowledged did not have Covid-19″ HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

        • 1
          1

          Eagle ‘the dumb moron’ Eye, this article has nothing to do with the LTTE or Tamils, but some or other you conjured up some garbage to write here. Explain why the high ranking mass murderous thugs from the LTTE and EPDP are working for the Rajapaksas?

      • 5
        2

        Ashan
        I am strongly in favour of permitting Muslims to bury their dead.
        .
        Why are you evading to answer:
        How many Muslim dead bodies have been cremated so far?
        How many Muslims have been cared for, treated , cured and sent home so far?

        Soma

        • 2
          1

          Ashan
          You are displaing your built-in ingratitude.
          How many Muslims have been cared for, treated , cured and sent home so far?

          Soma

    • 7
      19

      Buddhist1,
      “This decision of Sri Lankan government is a RACIST decision.”
      BS! It is not a ‘RACIST’ decision but a decision based on expert opinion and safety of people who live. ‘Moda’ Muslims who live in ‘Stone Age’ think rights of dead people are more important than the rites of the people who are alive.
      —-
      “Rajapakses FAIL- SLPP FAIL – Yuthukama Org FAIL – Vyath Maga (now Noyana Maga) FAIL”
      None of these people failed.
      It is racist separatist Vellala Demala politicians, LTTE Tamil terrorists and ‘Koti’ Diaspora that failed because they could not get their dreamland ‘Tamil Eelam’ based on the bogus claim ‘Traditional Homeland’ for the descendants of Dravida slaves brought to Sinhale by Portuguese.

      • 1
        1

        Eagle ‘blind as a dumb bat’ Eye, how do you think we do it in Canada, France, Australia, UK, NZ? Whoever wants to bury can bury their dead. Racist losers like you are so dumb, you have the cattle mentality when it comes to minority rights. Dumb arse.

    • 3
      1

      Allowing burial is political suicide for Rajapaksas.

      Only a very small fraction of the voters participated in the poll. It does not reflect reality. Most participants are not even voters (they reside abroad).

  • 3
    11

    There is no need for ANYONE to die in the first place. Let me explain.
    There is some confusion with regard to traditional medicine. There is Ayurveda and also Hela Vedakama. The second is the authentic form. This one can cure Covid-19 – yes CURE! Watch this video -> https://youtu.be/-59pVAF5VOg
    Many interested parties pulling things in many directions. The one that will satisfy most is this one. Although the GMOA who represents the western medical interests are against this. This solution should be offered at all govt hospitals if a patient requests. This is how it is done in China. Both indigenous as well as western options are given there. So lobby the govt so this option is available across all govt hospitals. The western doctors will try to prevent with all their might so be prepared. The guy called Dhammika also offered a solution and that works too. Although the guy was a lunatic. It’s not the person but any reputable Hela doctor can cure this within 3 days.

  • 6
    11

    In an article written by Mass L Usuf on 06 January 2021 in Colombo Telegraph under the title ‘When Monks & Politicians Behave Like Virologists & Hydrogeologists’ he wrote:
    “With the outbreak of Covid-19 virus pandemic in late 2019, the WHO guidelines with regard to the disposal of Covid-19 infected dead bodies were already out. It very clearly recommended either cremation or burial as a safe mode of disposal.”
    As a response to his statement I wrote:
    “Mass Usuf is misleading the readers by inserting the word ‘SAFE’ to recommendations of WHO for disposal of Covid-19 infected dead bodies. WHO use the term ‘CAN BE’ but do not use the word ‘SAFE’.”
    Mass Usuf did not respond to my comment probably because he knew that he tried to mislead the readers by writing something which is not true.
    Now Mass Ususf says:
    “Therefore, no in-depth references will be made to science, myth or racism which are often associated with the issue. Focus is directed on the subjects of Procedural Justice and Social Justice.”
    After failing to get what they want by telling lies, now Mass Usuf is coming out with Procedural Justice and Social Justice to justify burial of COVID-19 infected Muslim dead bodies with a certain degree of risk.

  • 4
    10

    “The unprofessional manner in which they have handled the burial issue is inacceptable.”

    It is only ‘MODA’ Muslims who live in ‘Stone Age’ think that the Government handled the burial issue in an unprofessional manner. The Government did not handle the disposal of COVID-19 infected dead bodies in an unprofessional manner. The decision of the Government is based on the views of experts and safety of the people who live. Self centered selfish Muslims do not care for the others.

    • 1
      2

      For the ignorant or the CT Moda commenter:

      “The government has done little to combat incitement against Muslims, such as false rumors that the community deliberately spread the coronavirus, which are often shared by government supporters and in pro-government media. A Muslim social media user, Ramzy Razeek, was arrested and detained for five months after opposing the burial ban and calling for religious tolerance on Facebook.

      Opposition to the policy has grown in recent weeks. The Sri Lanka Medical Association on January 1, 2021, said that the novel coronavirus cannot be transmitted by dead bodies. The College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka said on December 31 that there is “no solid evidence” supporting the regulation. Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist religious leaders wrote in a joint letter on December 26 that religious rights are protected by the Sri Lankan constitution. A Health Ministry expert panel recommended on December 29 that disposal of bodies could include burial as well as cremation.” Human Rights Watch

  • 2
    1

    Oh good lord,
    what a mess we have managed to drag Sri Lanka into.
    To bury or burn ? is it one law of one country ?.or is it a fundemental right that over rules any law ?
    Something only our Lawyers can answer.

    Now The indigenous medicine the magic portion, the miracle cure of a deadly virus , not just any virus,
    that too in 3 days.
    So mentally exausting.

    Is not the man who is most ignorant ,
    one who lets his Ego blinds him of all rationality ?

    I say ..
    Verily we have become a people who are seen by the world as a people who know not our priorities and almost the whole lot want to play politics, & we have show cased ourselves as a people who can not unite , even when death walks besides us

    I have a deep sense of despair , that
    the forced cremation issue , coupled with The Auyurvedic magic portion to cure corvid 19 ,may endup with consequences that may be counter productive towards us and as long as it is just placibo.its fine , but what happens if it causes death.

    .

  • 8
    2

    It is interesting to see how the voting power changed over time after the end of war with LTTE in 2009.

    I will give you the results below:
    2010: M. Rajapakse (6 m- 58%) Sarath Fonseka (4.2m – 40%)
    2015 : Srisena (6.2m – 51%) M. Rajapakse (5.8m – 48%)
    2019: G. Rajapakse ( 6.9m -52%, Sajith P (5.6m-42%)

    We talk only 6.9 million people who voted for Rajapakse. 5.6 million people voted for Sajith . Only 1.3% more than Sajith. You cannot compare the 42% with 1.3% people. Gota does not represent 42% people which includes over 30% Sinhala people. Rajapakse family should tell 30% Sinhala people are not belong to Sri Lanka?

    • 6
      3

      Good point. It is at their peril that they deliberately discriminate the minority, just to please the extremist Sinhala Buddhist, who have done nothing but pick on the Muslims and Christians, to show how superior they are, and Nandasena has done nothing to win the hearts and minds of the minority, and win their votes. The Rajapaksa’s stubbornly stick to their racist policies, with no thought of implementing policies that are inclusive of all others. A foolish and failed policy which will backfire.

      • 4
        4

        But you fake Arab South Indian Tamil Dravidian converted immigrant Thullukans were very happy, when they were picking on the Thamizh, Eezham and Indian origin and were even joining them and were part of the hurrah crowd. Now instead of rewarding you for your cooperation and partnership in the Eezham Thamizh genocide, the Chingkallams have turned on you and you Thullkans are crying and stating unfair. By the way I Am Christian and they really do not pick on the Christian. As lots of Chinkallams are Christians and also voted for Gotapaayam. You see the Cardinal canvassing for him. You are now trying to create a fake Christian ethnicity in the island from the Chingkalla and Thamizh Christians , just like a fake Muslim ethnic identity was created for the converted Indian Thamizh immigrants and to justify this, claimed a fake Arab origin , that is only found in izty bitzy amounts amongst a few families. Most probably you can use the part European Burghers to justify this fake Christian identity that you Thullkans now want to create to strengthen your case , as no one cares for you fake Arab low caste South Indian converts. Not even the Arabs who you worship and claim to be. Now want to drag the Christians , into this , thinking then the powerful west will support you Thullukans if Christians are involved.

      • 3
        5

        Ashan,
        What have Demalu who tried to assassinate President Rajapakshe and slaughtered Sinhalayo for three decades and Muslims who carried out a terrorist attack to ruin the peace Rajapakshes brought to people in this country and ruin the economy done to win the hearts and minds of President Rajapakshe and Sinhalayo?
        Sinhalayo who are the Native people in Sinhale have done more than enough to win the hearts and minds of the descendants of people who came from Hindusthan and settled down in their country. Unless Demalu and Muslims show their gratitude and solidarity with Sinhalayo and stand as ‘ONE NATION’ they will be doomed.
        —-
        “Nandasena has done nothing to win the hearts and minds of the minority, and win their votes.”

        • 4
          2

          Eagle,
          ” Demalu who tried to assassinate President Rajapakshe and slaughtered Sinhalayo “
          What have Sinhalayo who slaughtered 60,000 Sinhalayo, and assassinated a Prime Minister got to say?

      • 1
        0

        Ashan
        You people are ungrateful ********.
        How many Muslims have been cared for, treated , cured and sent home so far?
        What percentage of Health care workers are Muslims?
        I know the thinking behind the Muslim mind . Muslims need not be grateful to non Muslims as Allah has arranged that way.
        Allah has organised non Muslims to produce the vaccine.

        Soma

      • 0
        0

        Ashan
        Why did Muslim Wahabists chose Christians as target?

        Soma

    • 1
      1

      Biden does not represent 74 million Americans (most of them are whites).

      Should Biden tell 74 million Americans that they do not belong to USA?

      Same answers.

      (Sajith promised to continue to offer the supreme place for Buddhism, continue to repair all damaged Buddhist shrines and historic sites, spoke in Sinhala only, visited more Buddhist temples than all Rajapaksas combined, promised a Rs. 10,000 salary increase for all public servants. The 30% can be explained through them.)

      • 2
        1

        GATAM,
        Biden is not as as Gota. Biden did not say that he was elected by White only as Gota did. I am sure Biden will not release convicted murderers and corruptors from jail.

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