Some media have reported that the Speaker of the Maldivian parliament Mohamed Nasheed was the one who gave the idea of burying Sri Lankan COVID-19 Muslim victims in the Maldives to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The Sri Lankan government had made a request to the Maldivian government for arrangements to bury Sri Lankan Muslim victims in the Maldives due to difficulties in arranging their burial in Sri Lanka.
The nation has a policy of cremating COVID-19 victims, which strictly goes against the religion of Islam, causing discontent among Sri Lankan Muslims and even protests. Even so, the nation had been moving forward with forced cremations.
The policy has now been suspended due to the opposition towards it. The Maldivian government had also been working to make arrangements after accepting the request from its close neighbor.
The Sri Lankan government has now announced that it will be ceasing the cremation policy by burying Muslim virus victims in concrete boxes.
The Sri Lankan government officials had been quoted by media as saying that the Maldivian Foreign Ministry had made offers to arrange the burial of virus victims in the Maldives. However, the Foreign Ministry of the Maldives had later specified that the Sri Lankan President had sent a letter requesting the Maldivian President to make arrangements.
A report by the News In Asia read that Maldivian Speaker Mohamed Nasheed gave the idea to the Sri Lankan President.
The report read that Muslim leaders proposed burying COVID-19 Muslim victims wrapped in body bags, put in a concrete grave that will have one and a half feet of soil in it.
A chemical was to be sprayed on the body bag to let it decompose in a week or so. The Muslims had also submitted a design for the concrete grave.
The government appeared to be open to this suggestion but it was dragging its feet on a decision.
The report read that it was at this stage, leading Muslims appealed to foreign leaders like Mohamed Nasheed, to bury Muslims in other nations. The leaders were open to the suggestion but wanted the deal to be a government to government one.
News In Aisa reported that Mohamed Nasheed then called the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa about the idea of sending the bodies to the Maldives.
“Thereupon, the Lankan President made a formal request this his Maldivian counterpart Ibrahim Solih, who responded favorably and announced that he was talking to stakeholders in the Maldives about the logistics of the exercise.” Read the report.
Some Maldivian scholars and government leaders have expressed support for the move, but the government has also received a lot of criticism for the move.
The government had defended the move by stating that Sri Lanka was a close neighbor of the Maldives and that the Maldives should assist the neighbor in its time of need. However, critics of the move say that the government was cooperating in the discrimination of Sri Lankan Muslims by the government.