The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has spoken out against Sri Lanka’s policy of forced cremations, describing it as “violation of their fundamental rights”.
TNA spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran released a statement maintaining that:
“The denial of the right of the Muslim people to dispose of their dead bodies in keeping with the tenets of their religion is a violation of their fundamental right and should not continue,”
The statement comes following international condemnation of Sri Lanka’s policy from UN Special rapporteurs as well as World Health Organisation officials. The government has since been in discussion with the Maldives to consider the prospect of having Muslim burials in exile in the Maldives. A spokesman from the cabinet, Dr Ramesh Pathirana, has since told reporters that a decision has not been reached and has denied official communication between the Sri Lankan and Maldivian government.
The government is set to review the policy in the following days but Pathirana has stressed that health authorities, which are advised to keep bodies in airtight containers, cannot preserve the bodies indefinitely.
This statement by Sumanthiran comes a month after TNA parliamentarian Selvam Adaikalanathan was quoted by NewsHub as stating his party would “oppose” the move to bury Muslim coronavirus victims in Mannar.