Sri Lanka: Cremation of 20-day-old COVID victim’s body triggers Muslim anger

Colombo: Sri Lankan Muslims are angry over the cremation of 20-day-old infant’s body who became a victim of the COVID-19 recently.

According to report published by the Hindu, a 38-year-old man N.F.M. Fahim and his wife lost their new born baby on December 8. After the death, they did not even get chance to see the face of the baby.

Following the government’s policy over handling, cremation of infant’s body was done without taking consent of the parents.

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Condemning the mandatory cremation, Fahim said that it is against his religious practice.

Mandatory cremation policy

In April 2020, the Sri Lankan government has made cremation mandatory for the bodies of the people who have died from COVID-19.

The government claims that burying bodies of COVID-19 victims may result in contamination of ground water.

Apart from it, families of the COVID-19 victims are forced to bear cremation cost which is $270-325.

Protest against mandatory cremation

In order to protest against mandatory cremation, some of the families decided not to bear the cremation cost. They even decided not to accept ashes.

Due to pressure from various groups including the Minister of Justice, Ali Sabry PC, the government on November 4 appointed a committee to look into the policy on mandatory cremation. However, on November 22, the committee gave nod to the policy without citing any reason.

Even Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on December 1 dismissed all petitions against the government’s policy.

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