Sri Lanka police gets order against hospital director over sterilization scare

ECONOMYNEXT – The Criminal Investigations Department has secured judicial orders forcing the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital director to cooperate with their investigation into the alleged illegal sterilization of Sinhala Buddhist women.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the CID which took over the case on May 27 asked and secured an order from the Kurunegala magistrate forcing hospital director A. M. S. Weera Bandara to cooperate with the investigation.

Gunasekera did not give details, but senior police sources said Weera Bandara, after having colluded with the Kurunegala Deputy Inspector General Kithsiri Jayalath to plant the sterilization story in a local Sinhalese language paper, was less than cooperative with the CID.

The CID has now recorded Weera Bandara’s statement. A total of 758 statements have been recorded by the CID team. They include testimony and evidence from other specialist doctors and nursing staff as well as external specialists.

So far, there has been no evidence suggesting that Dr. Mohamed Shafi, a senior House Officer at the Kurunegala Hospital, had carried out illegal sterilization of any women.

The Divaina newspaper in a report based on information from Kurunegala DIG Jayalath said Dr. Shafi had crushed the fallopian tubes of 4,000 women thereby rendering them unable to bear any more children.

Jayalath’s remarks were buttressed by hospital director Weera Bandara who went onto say that Dr. Shafi had performed  8,000 C-section procedures. The CID is verifying claims of the hospital director who is a close associate of MP Wimal Weerawansa and a known activist of the SLPP.

Dr. Shafi on the other hand is a United National Party (UNP) member who contested the August 2015 parliamentary elections. He is next in line to enter parliament from the UNP list of candidates.

The Kurunegala magistrate has also ordered the health ministry secretary to provide all necessary equipment to test the women who claim they have been sterilized against their will. Their husbands are to be tested first to make sure that they had no fertility issues.

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The CID is due to provide a summary of evidence to the Kurunegala magistrate on June 27. (COLOMBO, June 19, 2019)   

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