The forced cremation of Janazas can never be accepted – ALM .Athaullah
The forced cremation of Janazas can never be accepted.
A. L. M. Athaullah
Leader- National Congress
He expressed his view on cremation of Muslim Janasas in the program ‘Nempuhai’ at KV TV.
Leaders of past have resolved various issues that arose from time to time for Sri Lankan Muslims with a deeper look. In the past, our leaders have found the right solutions despite the racial tensions.
Unfortunately after the loss of leader Ashraf, Muslims did not have proper leadership. It is a huge loss not only to the Muslims but also to the country. The present so called leaders are only thinking about what is ahead for the next election rather than presenting constructive solutions for the problems faced by the society.
Some Sinhalese and Tamils too having taken communalism to further the interest in the votes have brought the death knell for wishes of the dead’s last rite whether to bury or cremate. The option of burial or cremation to dispose the COVID infected remains has been simply clarified by the guidelines issued by the WHO which are practised by international communities.
India too follows the guidelines of the WHO. However in Sri Lanka the last rites of the dead are intertwined with politics, racism and election. I am of the view that the inappropriate approach of this issue by our leaders has led to this situation. I am also bound by this duty. As far as Muslims are concerned it is their social and religious responsibility.
It is obligatory for all Muslims to follow the simple rituals involving bathing and shrouding the body, followed by prayer before the burial of the Janaza. I posed the question to the Director General of Health at a meeting attended by prominent political figures and higher state officers held a few weeks ago to find out the reason to cremate Muslim Janazas. Why are we failing to think that the international law is applicable to all? The last rites of one’s funeral being unsatisfactory is also perceived as anti-humanitarian. Give us the Muslim Janaza. We will safely bury as per the guidelines. I emphasized that we have places for burial.
There was a biological skepticism when the question was posed. It was the doubt whether corona virus would spread from the dead body. I wanted to know what the scientific research says about it even it seemed very unlikely. Their response was that we did not cremate normal Janazas but only those who are dead due to COVID19 infection. They raised why Muslims are not cooperating. At that time I did not have any answers.
I left the meeting with the intention of expressing my views later on this matter. This would give me some space of time to clarify the possibility of virus to spread from the dead body. Later, medical experts from countries such as Britain and medical officers from our country have stated that coronavirus will not be released from the dead bodies. When the doctors from various ethnicities in Sri Lanka discussed with concerned authorities it was transpired that dead bodies could be buried but general public are very apprehensive of it. They were requested to forego this matter since it may lead to the people’s agitation.
Those who provoke people and later make them a scapegoat are found to be politicians. They are misguiding the people. There is a misconception that if the Ministry of Health, Department of Health and Ministry Officials come forward and explain the facts to the people they will not accept. Political parties which are hindrance to conveying the facts to the public must be denounced.
I would like to ask the Hon. Pavithra Wanniarachi, Minister of Health whether it is the intention of certain group of health professionals with racial attitudes created by Former Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, which continues to harass and deceive Muslims to orchestrate actions to turn Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims against government.
Even though the secretaries, directors and doctors under your Ministry informed you that the virus would not be transmitted from the remains, why are you still accepting decision taken by a certain group without informing the public? Now there are cracks caused in the group.
Now, the Lord has shown them the result of deliberate cremation for the purpose of politics. It is a pity that this has led to the burning of a mother who was not infected. The urgency of cremation of a mother who was not infected is inhumane. Sinhalese, Tamils, Ministers, Prime Ministers or President cannot accept this. This is completely against the norms of humanity and also beyond religious norms.
I want to emphasize to handover us the Muslim Janazas if the government cannot bury them. We are not ready to accept the biological reasons given by you.
I publically appeal politicians who are politicizing the Muslim Janaza issue to act with responsibility and piety taking into consideration of our country and the present plight of the Muslims, without making any attempts to increase your vote base as before like causing damages to the Mosques.
We will fight until they handover the remains for the burials. Apart from legal actions, we will fight for our rights with available natural resources. It is our collective responsibility. This can never be accepted.