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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.

    KEEP READING
    Sri Lanka vaccinates health workers, troops after India donation
    UN rights chief seeks sanctions against Sri Lankan generals: AFP
    Sri Lanka’s cremation of COVID dead a ‘human rights violation’
    Thousands in Sri Lanka drink ‘miracle’ COVID potion, minister...
    Read More...
  • 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...
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To Burn Or To Bury? The Deadly Question

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To burn or to bury? That has become the bedeviling Covid-19 question in Sri Lanka with no respect for the dead and no empathy for those who are left to mourn. According to WHO guidelines, Covid-19 victim’s bodies are not infectious, unless other complications are involved – such as hemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Marburg) or cholera. In general, dead bodies themselves are not infectious, but body fluids are and they secrete even after death. So, there is universal insistence on and compliance with the protocols for handing dead bodies, not only by funeral workers but also by families. But the question, whether cremation or burial, is a redundant question and it has been unnecessarily overwrought. But only in Sri Lanka, and chiefly by the  government itself.

For perspective, there have been public protests against cremating Covid-19 victims in Kerala and in West Bengal. So, one can argue either way if being argumentative is the be all and end all of patriotism. To their credit, the Indian federal and state governments have allowed both cremation and burial, leaving it to the family but with all hazmat protocols and precautions.
In Sri Lanka, it gets ridiculous. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has apparently asked the Maldivian government if Maldives could help by providing burial funerals for Sri Lankan Muslims who die from Covid-19 infection. That would be a first for any country. Already four UN Special Rapporteurs, not counting the ones at UNHRC, have called on Sri Lanka not to ban Muslim burials but allow them in accordance with WHO guidelines. Is Sri Lanka on course to run afoul of every UN Rapporteur? And why?

Fear Mongering

The fear mongering, not the prudent concern, about groundwater contamination is another fallopian nonsense. As with Caesarian sterilization, as with the Millennium Compact (which the US has now revoked), the government has dug itself another hole while banning graves for Covid-19 victims. If it is feared that graves will contaminate groundwater, it is fair to ask, what about contamination from sceptic tanks? Sanitary flows, landfill leachate, open defecation are potential pathogen carriers, but not necessarily of the coronavirus. Are drones going to be flown around to catch people answering the nature’s call in the most natural way?

Whether burial or cremation, there are safety protocols to be followed even in normal circumstances. There should be a sense of proportion. If a thousand non-infected, non-Covid-19, bodies are cremated at one location, over one week, and not far from a residential area, no one is going to be amused. In fact, there will be hellish fury. Even a hundred bodies will cause concerns, petitions, and protests. Similarly, if a thousand bodies are buried in a very short period, in a small cemetery, and close to wells or surface waterbodies, that would be a matter for grave concern. No one is talking about mass burials or mass cremations in Sri Lanka. The numbers are small, but the shouting is deafening.

Until late October, even while the burial debate was already in full flames, the total number of Covid-19 deaths was still under 20. Even if all of them were buried in one cemetery, that should not have been a matter for concern. The current death total is 160 and rising. But not all of Covid-19 victims are Muslims, or Christians, requiring a burial. They are a minority in life, in Sri Lanka, and so in death. And not all burials are going to be at the same location. In fact, it will not be a good idea to select a central location for all burials. So, if burials are allowed to take place the way they have been for centuries, the sky will not fall and the ground water is not going to be poisoned.

Proportionality and risk assessment are among the key considerations that guide the selection and location of public facilities, and that includes cemeteries and crematoriums. While cemeteries and crematoriums serve a spiritual purpose, their operations and maintenance come under more mundane considerations like public safety and environmental protection.

The Environmental Agency in England has addressed these matters in the context of Covid-19 and the potential risks from increased burials. Notably, the agency has waived the normal permit requirement for local authorities or cemetery operators undertaking new cemetery development or expanding existing cemeteries to accommodate the increased burials during Covid19. It has only provided guidelines for addressing groundwater risks for new cemeteries, but risks due to the increased number of burials, not due to Covid-19. The Agency is not concerned about Covid-19 infection in burials, but only the number of burials relative to their locations.

England alone has had over 57,000 people die due to Covid-19 so far, and the vast majority of them have been buried. Sri Lanka’s death toll is 160, and a majority of them are cremated. What higher risk would Sri Lanka face by allowing a few dozens of Covid-19 burials at most, than what England and all other countries allowing vastly larger number of burials are facing and dealing with? How did Sri Lanka, and this government particularly, get into such a grave hole, while protesting burials?  

A cabal government?

According to the National People’s Power (NPP) MP Dr Harini Amarasuriya, “a cabal of state officials and their close associates in the business community have been making important government decisions bypassing the prime minister and the cabinet of ministers.” This has been evident for quite some time, and what is also clear is that there is more than one cabal, and that the cabals have got the ear of the President and isolated him from everyone else –  including cabinet of ministers (which is not saying much), even the Rajapaksa family, and most of all its political godfather – the Prime Minister himself.

The cabals are not limited to state officials and business eople, and include professionals who use their trade union muscle to compensate for their professional inadequacies. The GMOA is the most notorious villain of the piece, but it may not be the only one. In the upshot, the government is unnecessarily complicating matters more than what they already are and they may invariably have to be. The government has become its own arsonist, setting up more fires without putting down any. And letting crisis after crisis to crop up with no end in sight. The burn or bury question is one such crisis. Avoidable and unnecessary.

The latest manifestations of this cabal power are the ultra vires sacking of the national Medical Council, a statutory body established in 1926, and the upcoming electrocution of the Public Utilities Commission, another statutory body . Before these was the eruption out of nowhere of prison riots which were ministerially attributed to hidden hands; but there are no hidden hands, only the government’s bloodied hands. And in the most bizarre topping to this cabal state of governance, three government ministers, two of them medical professionals, have been publicly partaking in homemade potions of a purportedly Covid-19 vaccine or cure. All of this and more in the middle of a global pandemic and economic shutdowns.

Not surprisingly, the economy shrank by a whopping 16.3% in Q-2 of 2020, recovering to grow by 1.5% in Q-3, and contracting overall by 5.3% for the first nine months. Hardly the situation for making rosy projections for 2021. And Covid-19 is not letting up at all. It keeps its infections climbing with apparent vengeance after lying low, or undetected, till early October. Infections and deaths have since multiplied ten times and are at the fearsome inflection point for a potentially exponential breakout. This is not a call for panic, but for signs that the government understands what the stakes are and what it takes to get things under control. The signs are anything but!

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/to-burn-or-to-bury-the-deadly-question/

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