KOZHIKODE: Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulema, the largest body of Muslim scholars in the state, has urged the government to give ritualistic washing of bodies of COVID victims exemption from COVID-19 protocol.
In a memorandum to the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Samastha president Syed Muhammad Jiffiri Muthukoya Thangal and general secretary K Alikutty Musaliyar voiced concern over burying the bodies without offering the obligatory ritual.
"Four rituals related to death are mandatory for Muslims: Washing the body, wrapping it in three pieces of cloth, offering burial prayers and burial. But bathing is not allowed after the Covid protocol came into force," the memorandum said.
Samastha leaders pointed out that this is not being done on the basis of any scientific study. "Certain studies found that viruses also die with the deceased person. There is no ban on COVID-19 patients bathing and the water is disposed of in public places. If these are allowed, we cannot understand the logic behind the ban on washing the bodies," they said.
Jiffiri Thangal and Alikutty Musaliar said that washing bodies of Covid victims is not banned under the World Health Organisation guidelines. "The only stipulation is that those who wash the body should wear PPE kits. Facility for bathing can be arranged at hospitals by the government or any private agency following all regulations," they said.
Samastha said that the bodies are packed at the hospitals without even cleaning the human waste. "Patients shudder at the thought of being denied a proper burial and the thought can even lead to worsening of the disease," the leaders said.
Leaders of the Sunni Yuvajana Sangham and Samastha Kerala Sunni Students' Federation have also called upon the government to reconsider the COVID-19 protocol.