Mannar hospital staff protest against SLA presence

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 11:25 GMT]
Nearly 250 employees including few medical officers Tuesday morning staged a walkout in protest demanding the withdrawal of State armed forces from the premises of the Mannar district hospital and to stop soldiers visiting the wards of the hospital with arms and other weapons. The protest was held from about 10 a.m. till 11 a.m., sources in Mannar said.

The protest was organized following the grenade attack into the premises of the hospital killing a SLA soldier and injuring another. In this incident a Tamil civilian who was sleeping in the Balamurugan temple, which is also located in the hospital premises, was injured in retaliatory firing by the army.

Mr.V.Visuvalingam, Government Agent of the district with Ms Stanley de Mel, Ms Dr.S.R.Jude, Deputy Director of Health Services and Superintendent of Police Mr.Kudahetty rushed to the site and held talks with protesting hospital staff. They demanded that the army located inside the hospital premises should be withdrawn immediately and to prevent government security forces entering the wards with arms, sources said.

The Government Agent assured the staff that he would see the army withdraws from the hospital premises within a week and to take steps to prohibit any group entering the hospital with arms, sources said.

Meanwhile, Mr.N.M.M.Abdulla, Mannar Magistrate Tuesday morning ordered to hand over the body of the SLA Mr.Saman Siri of Ratgama who was killed in a grenade attack inside the Mannar hospital Monday night to Captain Mr.P.B.J. Gunatilake of the Mannar army camp.

Mr. Abdullah further ordered that the injured soldier Mr.Rohitha Pushpakumara of Ratgama and the Tamil civilian Mr. Jesuthasan Kamalathasan who sustained injuring due to retaliatory fire by the army to be transferred to Anuradhapura hospital for further treatment, legal sources said

The Magistrate fixed the inquest into the death of SLA soldier for January 23, legal sources said.


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