Sri Lankan cabinet “unaware” of request for burials in Maldives

Coffin carried out by frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic | Photo: One Online

Male’, Maldives – Sri Lanka’s cabinet says that they did not know about any requests that were made to President of Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, requesting to assist in burying the deceased Muslim Covid-19 vitcims in Sri Lanka.

Yesterday, President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressed a letter to President Solih requesting him to assist in burying the deceased Muslims under proper burial proceedings as Sri Lanka has difficulties in arranging the proceedings for Muslims who were passing away from the Covid-19 virus.

However, the spokesperson of Sri Lanka cabinet, Keheliya Rambukwella said that the cabinet is not aware of any ” reported request made to Maldives by the Sri Lankan government to bury Covid-19 victims in Maldives”.

In response to this, the Sri Lankan Minister of Finance, Mangala Samaraweera tweeted saying that if the President of Sri Lanka had actually made such a request, then it is a disgrace and that every citizen of Sri Lanka deserves the right to carry out the last rites according to their respective beliefs on the soil they were born and bred.

Minister Mangala Samaraweera further stated that this matter was not discussed in the weekly cabinet meeting as well and that he will get back to the media after confirming the information regarding this matter.

While Muslims account for approximately 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s 21 million population, the Sri Lankan government had decided to cremate all the Muslim Covid-19 victims who passes away from the virus.

Although the Islamic religion does not support cremation, the Sri Lankan authorities has already cremated at least 15 Muslim coronavirus victims, including a 20-day old infant against family consent.

This has raised an outrage in the country and the Muslims in Sri Lanka have started raising their voices against this action, as they are being deprived of their human rights.

However, as Sri Lankan President had requested President Solih to assist in burial of Muslim bodies, President Solih has discussed with concerning authorities to find out a way to solve the difficulties and to bury the bodies in Maldives as a way to help spread religious unity and to honor the long-standing friendship between the two neighboring countries.

But the former President of Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom stated that although he is fully in support of bringing foreigners into the country, he does not support the idea of bringing the bodies of foreigners who are Covid-19 victims and burying them in the country.

On the other hand, the former Islamic Minister of Maldives, Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeedh fully supported the decision of President Solih and said that the bodies of Muslims must not let be cremated and that the closest Muslim country must assist in providing proper burial proceedings.

However, he also noted that he believes that all the Muslim citizens of Sri Lanka who passes away from the Covid-19 virus must be given the chance to be buried under proper Islamic burial proceedings in their own country and that it is their right as a human along with Islamic right as well.