Feb 23, Colombo: Sri Lankans today staged a protest opposite the Presidential Secretariat demanding an end to the forced cremations of Muslims who die of COVID-19 and approval to bury the deceased as the Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in the island on a two-day official visit.
Parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen tweeted that regardless of religion, gender and party, all groups of people participated at the protest for their denied fundamental rights of burial.
Dozens of Muslims carried a mock janazah, or coffin, denouncing the Sri Lankan government’s policy of banning burials of virus victims disregarding their funeral rites, AFP reported.
A tense situation has arisen when the Police told the protestors that the demonstration cannot be held at the location. However, the protest has continued at the location to draw the attention of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, according to the Samagi Jana Balawegaya parliamentarian Mujibur Rahman.
Earlier Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told in parliament that the government will allow the burials of COVID victims. However, the Ministry of Health has not changed its policy of cremating all virus victims disregarding their funeral rites.