Former Western Province Governor and leader of the National Unity Alliance, Azath S Salley, has requested President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to inquire into the circumstances under which a Muslim victim of coronavirus was cremated,contrary to specific instructions issued by the government.
The following is the text of Salley’s letter to the President:
“The second death in Sri Lanka, from Covid-19, was a Sri Lanka Muslim patient. According to the circular that was amended and approved by the President of Sri Lanka, with the recommendation of WHO and other health organizations, it was recommended that in-line with the religious and cultural sentiments of the Muslim people, any victim who adheres to such a belief will be provided with the right of burial, instead of cremation; with certain guidelines.
I request his Excellency the President to immediately investigate how, contrary to his circular, the body was cremated. This was done against the wishes of the family and the promise that was rendered to them by the people responsible of this situation.
Whilst we wholeheartedly respect the initiative taken by the Government to combat the virus, we cannot allow civil liberties to be curtailed to the point where a family is misled of the final rights of their loved ones and privy of information being given to a section of the media, even before the immediate family.
We, as Sri-Lankans, cannot forget or allow the erosion of fundamental rights, because of politics or red tape bureaucracy during this time.
Again, I request his Excellency the President to investigate this immediately and hold those individuals responsible for this irresponsible action accountable.”