By Chaturanga Samarawickrama
At a meeting held recently, Health Services Director General Dr. Asela Gunawardene had suggested to keep the remains of Muslim COVID-19 victims in freezer containers until a decision is made on the burial issue. He told the Daily Mirror that ashes of cremated Muslim COVID-19 victims and the remains have piled up in the mortuaries.
"The urns that contain the cremated ashes are lying in mortuaries, as the owners have refused to accept them due to the cremation of the bodies," Dr. Gunawardene said.
"While the bodies of those belonging to other faiths also had to be kept along with that of the Muslim COVID-19 victims, it could pose a grave threat of COVID-19 virus spreading among the hospital staff members," the doctor said. A discussion in this regard was held headed by the Prime Minister, Health Minister, Justice Minister, Health Ministry officials and several members of the Muslim community.
At this discussion, a suggestion was made to the Justice Minister to provide with freezer containers to store the bodies of Muslim COVID-19 victims until the decision was made on their burial.
Meanwhile, in a letter sent on December 14, the Health DG had requested the Justice Minister to provide at least five freezer containers to the mortuaries as a temporary solution.