The prolonged delay in resolving the issue that involves the cremation of COVID-19 victims will pave the way for local and international forces that are all out to destroy Sri Lanka’s image, UNP Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene said yesterday.
“The issue is being internationalised at the moment and it can become a greater issue than the human rights violation issue which Sri Lanka has been facing since the end of the war,” Mr. Wijewardene said making a special statement.
“The UNP has always given the foremost place to Buddhism in the country. However, we also stand for the rights of people belonging to other religions as well. Therefore it is essential to listen to all religious leaders and leaders who represent different ethnic groups in the country. Department of Health should take the lead in the discussions on the issue of cremating those who succumb to COVID- 19 while the representatives of Department of Muslim Affairs, Christian affairs and Buddhist affairs should also participate in it. The Department of Cultural Affairs should also be made a part of this discussion as well,” Mr. Wijewardene said. “Sri Lanka’s image will be tarnished if unilateral decisions are made on the issue,” he added.
“It must be noted that even Buddhists and Hindus bury their dead just like the Muslims and Catholics,” he also said.
Mr. Wijewardene recalled that he had made similar remarks when he met the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith recently. (YOHAN PERERA)