ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s ministry of health has decided to reinstate Dr Shafi Sihabdeen of the Kurunegla Teaching Hospital who was sent on compulsory leave over unproven allegations of forced sterilisation, reports said.
A ministry communiqué sent to the Kurunegala teaching hospital director seen by EconomyNext has also advised that Dr Sihabdeen’s salary arrears going back over two years are also paid.
Health Ministry Secretary Dr S H Munasinghe has sought clarification from the hospital director for the nonpayment of Sihabdeen’s salary from the time he was sent on compulsory leave.
“Report to me the reasons for nonpayment of salaries during this period despite the Establishments Code clearly explaining the procedures involved in sending a government official on compulsory leave,” Dr Munasinghe has said in the communique.
Sihabdeen had been accused of performing forced sterlisation on over 8,000 predominantly Sinhalese women, but no investigation had found evidence to support the claims.
The allegations followed the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings carried out by Islamist extremists. Anti-Muslim sentiment had been high at the time and the allegations levelled against the doctor had served to further heighten prevailing tensions, analysts said.