The latest publication from the People’s Rights Group (PRG) UK is ‘Dying While Muslim’ in ‘Masked’ Sri Lanka documents in detail each step in the Sri Lankan government’s draconian policy of forced cremation during the Covid pandemic. The author, Lukman Harees, notes in the introduction
. . . the Muslim Community has increasingly become the primary target for vitriol and discrimination. Where the State should have adopted a nuanced approach towards peace, successive governments jae stirred up and capitalised on these anti-Muslim sentiments for political gain. The policy of the Sri Lankan government to impose a mandatory cremation particularly affected the Muslim community . . . the much talked about ‘Forced Cremation’ story which began to unravel in March 2020 and ended in late February 2021 is but part of this racist policy. It deeply shook and angered not only the Sri Lanka’s Muslim community, but touched the hearts of the wider society and the world at large as well. The body of 20-day old Shaykh was cremated by Sri Lankan authorities, despite the pleas of his grieving family, which was heart breaking . . . however, there was light at the end of a year long , dark tunnel. Hope and sanity prevailed at last, and the government gave into the immense international and local pressure irrespective of race and religious differences . . .
This book is designed to record for the progeny the rise and fall of the latest racist campaign – to deny the dignity afforded to the dead to a part of the people of Sri Lanka and how the whole rose up against such injustice and oppression to bring a just closure to a sad tale of woe and inhumanity. All praise to the Merciful Lord, which inspired me to put this story on paper . . .