Expert Committee to review burial for COVID dead Muslims | Daily News

Expert Committee to review burial for COVID dead Muslims

The Expert Committee appointed to review the burial for COVID dead Muslims will meet this week to review whether burial could be permitted.

Health Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi said the expert committee appointed to review the decision taken to cremate all persons who die due to the COVID infection and to reconsider the appeal for Muslims to be allowed burial, would be taken up for discussion when they meet this week.

Responding to a statement made by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa in Parliament yesterday, where he accused the government of violating the rights of Muslims by cremating the dead, Justice Minister Ali Sabry said that at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the whole world, it was not suitable to politicise decisions taken by health authorities to cremate those who die of the infection, despite it being contrary to normal Muslim burial practices.

Sabry said that a group of Muslim leaders had met a group of eminent medical experts and discussed this matter six months ago.

“They told us that as this was an unknown situation and an evolving science, they would reconsider our request for burial in six months. Accordingly, we are engaged with the authorities regarding this issue.

Hence, this situation should not be used to gain political mileage. If that happens it would insight communal discord.

Hence, I appeal to the Opposition to look at this situation as a humanitarian matter and avoid politicising it.”

However, expressing his views on the matter, SJB-MP Mujibur Rahuman said that despite requests being made to appoint an expert committee to look into this matter, nothing has been done for the past six months.

“Hence, I appeal to the Justice Minister to intervene in this matter and appoint the expert committee to resolve this matter and give the Muslims their right to be buried and not cremated.

To date nine Muslims have been cremated and as time goes by the number will increase. This is certainly a humanitarian issue and nothing to do with politics,” he added.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi said the decision to cremate was taken based on the advice of an expert panel of medical experts. However, she said that although MP Rahuman is unaware, a committee had been appointed to review this matter on the directions of the Justice Minister and the committee will meet this week to review the issue on whether burials could be permitted.