The Sri Lankan government on Thursday reversed an order to cremated the bodies of those who died by the coronavirus, and the last rites of burial and cremation could now be performed both ways.
The change in the law by the Sri Lankan government comes just hours after the end of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit.
It should be noted that in Sri Lanka, the bodies of those killed by the coronavirus were legally required to be cremated, regardless of their religion. There was great concern in Sri Lanka’s Muslim, Catholic and Buddhist communities.
Sri Lanka’s health minister on Thursday night issued an amended gazette authorizing both the burial and cremation of those killed by code 19.
An extraordinary notification has been issued by the Sri Lankan Minister of Health, Putra Vanyarache, stating that in case of burial, the deceased will be buried as per the instructions of the Director-General of Health Services.
Following the announcement of the amendment by Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, in a tweet thanking the Sri Lankan leadership, wrote: “We welcome Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa’s assurance given in Sri Lankan Parliament today allowing Muslims to bury those who died from COVID19.”
The order to burn those infected with the coronavirus in Sri Lanka is being criticized by human rights groups, including the UN Human Rights Council. The move is hurting the feelings of Muslims, Catholics and Buddhists.
After Imran Khan’s visit to Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan government allowed the burial of Corona victims belonging to other religions, including Muslims, and the citizens there have also thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Afsheen Azeez, a Sri Lankan Twitter user, tweeted thanks to Prime Minister Imran Khan and wrote, “Thank you for visiting us, Imran Khan! your visit brought relief to us.”
The controversy escalated when the body of a 20-day-old baby of a Sri Lankan Muslim family was forcibly cremated.
The decision by the Sri Lankan government was made by a committee of experts based on fears that burying the bodies of those killed by the coronavirus could spread the virus to groundwater resources. It is not yet clear who is on the committee and what their qualifications are.