Photograph: Daily FT
The leader of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has reportedly spoken out against the Sri Lankan government’s policy of forcibly cremating suspected COVID-19 victims, stating that the regime has “decided to follow mythology in place of science”.
SJB leader Sajith Premadasa addressed a protest at the Borella Cemetery last week, as outrage continues over the forced cremations which conflict with the religious beliefs of Muslims on the island. Many Muslims have in recent months been subject to seeing their loved ones forcibly cremated and denied the right to burial.
Premadasa reportedly told the protest that “every citizen should be accorded his or her final rights in accordance with their customs and religious beliefs”.
“Today, the Government has decided to follow mythology in place of science, the citizens of the country have been robbed of final rights,” he added.
The opposition leader also reportedly called for an independent panel with experts to be set-up by the government where this matter could be reviewed.
The protest, which urged the government to follow WHO guidelines and allow the burial of deceased COVID-19 victims, was also attended by several opposition MPs and human rights activists.
It comes as demonstrations took place across the North-East, with Tamils standing in solidarity with Muslims. Meanwhile, in the South, Sinhala Buddhist monks protested in support of government policy, calling for the cremations to continue.