COVID-19 deceased : Burials To Be Allowed Soon?
Considering the growing plea among the public to allow burial of COVID-19 deceased and requests made by a number of party leaders, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa held a lengthy discussion with Government Party Leaders at Parliament premises on 9 February, who endorsed this fact. The Prime Minister had pointed out at the discussion that a decision on burial could not be taken without seeking the opinion of the health authorities and that the Maha Sangha should be apprised on the matter as well.
Subsequently, the PM met a group of leading Buddhist clergy at Temple Trees at 5 p.m. on 10 February and explained in detail the requests coming from many quarters to revisit the decision on COVID-19 deceased. There the Buddhist clergy had informed PM if the health authorities were willing to revisit mandatory cremation and consider allowing burial, they had no objection to the decision.
Following these developments, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and PM Rajapaksa met the health authorities in a series of discussions and urged them to convey their decision on mandatory cremation as soon as possible. Accordingly, the decision on burials will soon be conveyed to the Government.
The Nayaka Theras who took part in the discussions at Temple Trees on 10 February at 5 p.m. were: Ven. Omare Kassapa Anunayake Thera, Ven. Nedagamuwe Vijaya Maithri Anunayaka Thera, Ven. Prof. Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangharakkhitha Nayaka Thera, Ven. Prof. Iththademaliye Indrasara Nayaka Thera, Ven. Prof. Induragare Dhammarathana Nayaka Thera, Ven. Prof. Medagoda Abhayatissa Nayaka Thera, Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji Nayaka Thera, Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Nayaka Thera, Ven. Diviyagaha Yassassi Nayaka Thera, Ven. Elle Gunawansa Nayaka Thera, Ven. Balangoda Sobhitha Nayaka Thera, Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Nayaka Thera, Ven. Akmeemana Dayarathana Nayaka Thera and Ven. Medille Pagngnaloka Nayaka Thera.
The Government is awaiting the recommendation of health authorities to reverse the decision of mandatory cremation for all COVID-19 deceased, and once the green light is received, all communities – Sinhala-Buddhist, Sinhala-Christian, Tamil-Hindu, Tamil-Christian and Muslim – will be able to choose either cremation or burial for their loved ones who succumb to COVID-19.