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Sri Lanka police says Muslim doctor illegally detained in sterilization scare

ECONOMYNEXT – The alleged mass sterilization carried out by a Muslim doctor on Sinhala-Buddhist women turned out to be baseless rumor spread by the Kurunegala Deputy Inspector General of Police Kithsiri Jayalath, a magistrate was told today.

The police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said due process had not been followed in the arrest and subsequent detention under emergency regulations of Dr. Mohamed Shafi and they would discuss with the Defence ministry secretary to release him shortly.

Shafi can be released only if the defence ministry secretary revokes his detention order or a superior court intervenes. He was arrested on a charge unexplained wealth, but the CID told court Thursday that they were satisfied with his legitimate sources of income and he could not be arrested on such a charge.

The Sinhalese-language Divaina newspaper which carried sensational claims that Dr. Shafi carried out 4,000 C-section procedures on Sinhalese women and subsequently performed sterilization procedures on them without their knowledge admitted the source of their report was DIG Jayalath.

When under pressure to prove the allegatuions, the Divaina newspaper had carried furtherreports claiming that Dr. Shafi had performed 8,000 C-section deliveries, but hospital records showed that he had done less than 4,400 such operations during his entire career.

Jayalath has since denied he made a definite accusation and claimed that he had only referred to unsubstantiated rumors, according to a 210-page CID report to court.

CID investigations also found that although 615 women complained that they had been sterilized by Dr. Shafi only 147 were even eligible medically to make such a claim.

However, 11 out of 13 women who were subjected to a preliminary medical examination proved to have made a false complaint.

Other doctors and nursing staff who were at the Kurunegala hospital when Dr. Shafi performed

C-section procedures had confirmed that there was nothing untoyred during their operations and dismissed the allegations against him.

The court was also told of how the hospital director Weera Bandara had attempted to obstruct the CID investigation.

Magistrate allowed a CID request to invite another 147 women to a workshop on C-section procedures and tests required to establish if theyh have been involuntarily subjected to sterilization. A preliminary meeting for them will be held on July 10. (COLOMBO, June 27, 2019)