The Navy stopped a group headed to the area to show solidarity to residents and learn the reasons for their protests. Security Forces have issued an order not to let any outsider on the island. For NAFSO activist, “This is a bigger question.”
Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Sri Lankan Navy today blocked a group of people headed to Iranativu Island to show solidarity with the protest promoted by local residents against the government's plan to create a COVID-19 cemetery on the island itself.
Protesters complain that the area’s delicate ecosystem, with its flora and fauna, will be destroyed, as will fishing, animal husbandry, and farming, not to mention human health.
The Navy has banned anyone who is not a resident of the island from landing. Backed by the Church, locals have protested against a government plan to open a cemetery on the island for Muslims who died from COVID-19
In response to the protests, some human rights activists, journalists and members of civil society groups travelled this morning from the capital, Colombo, to Iranativu to hear the arguments put forward by locals.
At a checkpoint, the Sri Lankan Navy stopped them after the Kilinochchi District Secretary issued a ban on non-residents, including media people and others. The deputy district secretary explained that the decision came from the Security Forces.
Speaking to AsiaNews Anthony Jesudasan, coordinator of the North and South programme at the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO), said: “Now we can try to understand what is behind this process. This is a bigger question. What is the real reason for this decision? For Tamil war victims, this is a double injustice. When can they breathe in freedom?”