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Muslims in Vavuniya rally against forced cremations

Muslims rallied in Vavuniya on Saturday to protest against Sri Lanka's compulsory cremation policy as outrage continues across the island. 

Protesters condemned the Sri Lankan government for denying Muslims the right to bury those suspected to have died from COVID-19, directly violating traditional Islamic burial rights. 

Sri Lanka has continued to enforce the policy despite World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines stating that COVID-19 victims can be buried or cremated. Out of 124 coronavirus deaths, 50 have reportedly been Muslim and have been forcibly cremated against their family's wishes. 

Yesterday, Sinhala Buddhist monks staged a protest calling on the government to continue enforcing the policy. Organisers of the protest, Sinhala Ravaya, have previously protested against the establishment of a mosque in Kurgala and against the singing of the national anthem in Tamil.

Read more here: Sri Lankan Buddhist monks demand Sri Lanka continues forced cremations. 

The Sri Lankan government is reportedly considering shipping Muslim bodies to the Maldives to be buried. Muslim groups and parliamentarians have denounced the move and called on the government to allow the dead to be buried in the land in which they lived. 


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