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  • Technical committee gives clearance; ban on COVID-19 burial revoked
    The government decided today to allow the burial of Muslim COVID-19 victims after the technical committee appointed in this regard gave clearance, a Minister said today. The decision follows the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressing concerns over the cremation of dead bodies of Muslims at a high level meeting. OIC Secretary General Yousef Al Othaimeen said the OIC is “concerned on the situation of Muslims in Sri Lanka." Sri Lanka counts on the support of these countries to defeat a resolution to be moved by the core group of countries led by the United Kingdom. Earlier, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa announced in Parliament that burials would be allowed. Later, State Minister Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle said it would be referred to the technical committee of experts to take the final decision. (Kelum Bandara)   http://www.dailymirror.lk/top_story/Technical-committee-gives-clearance-ban-on-COVID-19-burial-revoked/155-206622
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  • කොරෝනා මළ සිරුරු භූමදානයට අවසර
    කොරෝනා වයිරසය ආසාදනය වීමෙන් සිදුවන මරණවලදී මළ සිරුරු භූමදානය කිරීමට රජය අවසර දී තිබේ. ඒ සඳහා වන ගැසට් පත්‍රය අද (25) රාත්‍රියේ මුද්‍රණයට යැවුණ අතර සෞඛ්‍ය ඇමතිනී පවිත්‍රා වන්නිආරච්චි මහත්මිය ඊට අත්සන් තබා තිබේ.


    http://www.lankadeepa.lk/latest_news/%E0%B6%9A%E0%B7%9C%E0%B6%BB%E0%B7%9D%E0%B6%B1%E0%B7%8F-%E0%B6%B8%E0%B7%85-%E0%B7%83%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%BB%E0%B7%94%E0%B6%BB%E0%B7%94-%E0%B6%B7%E0%B7%96%E0%B6%B8%E0%B6%AF%E0%B7%8F%E0%B6%B1%E0%B6%BA%E0%B6%A7-%E0%B6%85%E0%B7%80%E0%B7%83%E0%B6%BB/1-586600
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  • Justice has failed Sri Lanka civil war victims: UNHCR
    Efforts to ensure justice for victims have failed, Michelle Bachelet says while introducing her report on Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council.
    Twelve years after the end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka, domestic efforts to ensure justice for victims have failed, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday.

    Introducing her report on Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council, Bachelet said the effect of the conflict on thousands of survivors from all communities was devastating.
    “Despite commitments made in 2015, the current government, like its predecessor, has failed to pursue genuine truth-seeking or accountability processes,” she said.

    “The impact on thousands of survivors, from all communities, is devastating. Moreover, the systems, structures, policies...
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  • හිජාස් පෙත්සම ඉල්ලා අස්කරගනී
    (තිළිණි ද සිල්වා සහ රංජන් කටුගම්පොළ)

    රැඳවුම් නියෝග මත රදවා සිටින තමාව වහාම මුදාහරින්නැයි පොලිස්පතිවරයාට සහ අපරාධ පරීක්ෂණ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවට නියෝග කරන ලෙස  ඉල්ලා නීතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා අභියාචනාධිකරණය ගොනු කළ රිට් පෙත්සම අද (24) ඒ මහතා විසින්ම ඉල්ලා අස් කරගන්නා ලදි.

    පාස්කු ඉරුදින කොළඹ සිනමන් ග්‍රෑන්ඩ් හෝටලයේ සිදුවූ...
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  • Disappointed to see Govt. backing away from ending cremation policy: US
    US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B Teplitz said she was disappointed to see that the Government and Prime Minister are backing away from ending discriminatory cremation policy. She tweeted that “People, including loved ones recently passed away, deserve more respect for their rights from a democratic government”.   http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Disappointed-to-see-Govt-backing-away-from-ending-cremation-policy-US/108-206094



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  • Hizbullah and Madrasa School Principal remanded
    Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah and Principal of Madrasa School Mohammed Shakeel were remanded till March 3 by the Fort Magistrate’s Court today. The Attorney General yesterday directed the IGP to produce them in a relevant court under section 2 (1) (h) of the PTA and section 3(1) of the ICCPR Act.   http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Hizbullah-and-Madrasa-School-Principal-remanded/108-206092 Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
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  • හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා කොටුව අධිකරණයට

    (රොමේෂ් ධනුෂ්ක ද සිල්වා) පාස්කු ප්‍රහාරය සම්බන්ධයෙන් රහස් පොලිසිය මගින්  අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන මාස 10කට අධික කාලයක් රැඳවුම් නියෝග මත සිටි නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා අද(18) පස්වරුවේ කොළඹ කොටුව මහේස්ත්‍රාත් අධිකරණයට ඉදිරිපත් කරනු ලැබීය. හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා සමඟ අත්අඩංගුවට ගත් පුත්තලම, මද්‍රසා පාසලේ විදුහල්පති මොහොමඩ්...
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  • හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලාගේ පෙත්සම 24 දා සළකා බලයි
    (තිළිණි ද සිල්වා සහ රංජන් කටුගම්පොළ)

    නීතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා ගොනු කළ රිට් පෙත්සම මෙම මස 24 වැනිදා සළකා බැලීමට අභියාචනාධිකරණය අද (16) තීරණය කළේය.

    පාස්කු ඉරුදින කොළඹ සිනමන් ග්‍රෑන්ඩ් හෝටලයේ සිදුවූ මරාගෙන මැරෙන බෝම්බ ප්‍රහාරය සිදුකළ බෝම්බකරු සමඟ සම්බන්ධතා පැවැත්වුයැයි කියන සිද්ධියකට සැකපිට...
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  • UK Muslims complain to UN over Sri Lanka’s cremation policy
    Muslim Council of Britain leads calls for an end to the ‘unjust and discriminatory’ mandatory cremation policy.
    9 Feb 2021
    Muslim families in the United Kingdom whose loved ones have been cremated in Sri Lanka have submitted a complaint to the United Nations, branding the South Asian country’s controversial policy “unjust and discriminatory” and calling for its immediate suspension.

    Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka made cremation mandatory last March for people who die, or are suspected to have died, with coronavirus.

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    UN rights chief seeks sanctions against Sri Lankan generals: AFP
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    Thousands in Sri Lanka drink ‘miracle’ COVID potion, minister...
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  • කොවිඩ් සිරුරු භූමදානයට ඉඩදෙන බව අගමැති කියයි
    බන්දුල ඉලේපෙරුම

    කොවිඩ් 19 ආසාදනය වීමෙන් මියයන පුද්ගලයන්ගේ සිරුරු භූමදානයට ඉඩදෙන බව අගමැති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා අද(10) පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේදී පැවසීය.
    අගමැතිවරයා සභාවේ නැගී සිටිමින් එසේ කියා සිටියේ එස්.එම්.මරික්කාර් මන්ත්‍රීවරයා නැගූ පැනයකට පිළිතුරු වශයෙනි.
    ජලයෙන් කොවිඩ් 19 ‍බෝ නොවන බවට සුදර්ශනී ප්‍රනාන්දුපුල්ලේ ඇමැතිවරිය...
    Read More...
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Coronavirus funerals: Sri Lanka's Muslims decry forced cremation

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Sri Lankan ethnic Muslim women wait in a queue for the Covid-19 blood test in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 04 May 2020

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionSri Lankan Muslim women wait for a Covid-19 test. Some in the community are fighting cremation rules

Sri Lankan authorities are insisting on cremation for coronavirus victims - a practice forbidden by Islam. The nation's minority Muslim community says they are using the pandemic to discriminate, writes BBC Sinhala's Saroj Pathirana.

On 4 May, Fathima Rinoza, a 44-year-old mother of three from Sri Lanka's minority Muslim population, was admitted to hospital with a suspected case of Covid-19.

Fathima, who lived in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, had been suffering from respiratory problems and the authorities feared she had caught the virus.

On the day she was admitted to hospital, the family was "set upon" by the authorities, her husband Mohamed Shafeek said.

"The police and military along with officials arrived at our door," he said. "We were kicked out and they sprayed [disinfectant] everywhere. We were all scared but they didn't tell us anything. Even a three-month-old baby was tested and they took us like dogs to the quarantine centre."

The family was held for a night but released the next day and told to quarantine for two weeks, Mohamed said. By then, they had received news that Fathima had died, at the hospital, on her own.

Fathima's adult son was asked to go to the hospital to identify his mother's body. He was told that her body could not be returned to the family, he said, as her death was linked to Covid-19.

Instead he was forced to sign papers authorising her cremation, the family said - even though under Muslim law cremation is considered a violation of the human body.

"He was told that her body parts needed to be removed for further tests. Why would they need body parts if she had corona?" said his father Shafeek, who feels the family were not fully informed about what happened.

Fathima Rinoza and husband Mohamed Shafeek with their two daughtersImage copyrightMOHAMED SHAFEEKImage captionFathima and her husband Mohamed with their two daughters

Fathima's family and others in Sri Lanka's Muslim community say the authorities are violating their rights by forcing them to cremate victims even though coronavirus victims can be buried.

They argue it's the latest step in a pattern of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese population. A petition against the cremation rule has been accepted by the country's Supreme Court, which will begin hearing the case on 13 July.

Many Muslims in Sri Lanka feel they have been demonised since April 2019, when Islamists linked to little-known local groups targeted high-end hotels and churches in Colombo and in the east of the country, killing more than 250 people in a spate of devastating attacks.

Since the death of the first Sri Lankan Muslim from coronavirus on 31 March, some media outlets have openly blamed the Muslim community for spreading the disease, even though only 11 deaths have been officially recorded in the country.

All 11 bodies, including Muslims, were cremated.

A Muslim priest prays during Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Dewatagaha Mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 24 May 2020Image copyrightDINUKA LIYANAWATTEImage captionRituals associated with burial in Islam are designed to give the body dignity in death

Dr Sugath Samaraweera, the government's chief epidemiologist, told the BBC it was government policy that all those who die from Covid-19, as well as those suspected of dying from it, are cremated, as burials could contaminate ground drinking water.

Dr Samaraweera said the government was following expert medical advice, and applying the rule to anyone suspected of dying from coronavirus, regardless of religion.

"The WHO offers guidelines for the whole world. It is our responsibility to adopt or customise those guidelines suitable to our country," he said.

But Muslim activists, community leaders and politicians have asked the Sri Lankan government to reconsider the decision.

Ali Zahir Moulana, a former minister and senior leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress party, said the Muslim community was prepared to accept the rule "if there is evidence or scientific backing to prove that burial is dangerous to public health". But he questioned the science behind it, and accused the government of pursuing a "dark political agenda".

Interim guidance published by the WHO in March says victims of coronavirus "can be buried or cremated", and does not mention dangers to groundwater.

Sri Lankan lawyers walk past the Supreme Court complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 20 May 2020Image copyrightEPAImage captionA petition against the cremation rule has reached the country's Supreme Court

On the same day that Fathima died, 64-year-old Abdul Hameed Mohamed Rafaideen passed away at his sister's house in Colombo. The labourer and father of four had been suffering from breathing difficulties.

His youngest son, Naushad Rafaideen, told the BBC that a neighbour from the majority Sinhala community died the same day.

Because of lockdown travelling restrictions, local police asked the family to take the body of the neighbour, together with their father's body, to the hospital.

At the mortuary, the doctor told Naushad he was not allowed to touch his father's body because of the risks of Covid-19, even though it wasn't clear whether the virus was the cause of death.

A family photo of the Rafaideen familyImage copyrightNAUSHAD RAFAIDEENImage captionHappier times in the Rafaideen family. Naushad is in the middle, and his father on the right

Naushad, who cannot read, was asked to sign some papers which gave permission for his father's body to be cremated.

He said he wasn't sure what would happen to him if he didn't sign, but he feared a backlash against his family and community if he refused. He said the Sinhalese family was treated differently, and allowed to pay respects to their relative at a funeral parlour, though the BBC could not independently verify this. Only Naushad and a handful of relatives were allowed to attend the cremation of his father, he said.

Meanwhile, nearly six weeks after the death of his wife, Shafeek is unsure whether she ever tested positive for coronavirus, and he is struggling to come to terms with not being able to bury her body. One thing he was sure of, he said. "We Muslims do not cremate our dead."

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-53295551?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/world/asia&link_location=live-reporting-story

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