Elderly detainee in SLA detention centre dies in Jaffna
[TamilNet, Sunday, 29 March 2009, 09:01 GMT]
An elderly civilian held in Sri Lanka Army (SLA) detention centre in Mirusuvil in Thenmaraadchi died Saturday night in Jaffna Teaching Hospital (JTH) due to delayed medical treatment, sources in Jaffna said. Regional Health Service sources said that there is an acute scarcity for ambulances to transport patients in need of urgent treatment from the SLA detention centres to hospitals. Besides, SLA soldiers do not permit the civilians held in the detention centres to go out for early treatment when they are infected and sick and the life of the elderly man may have been saved had he had proper treatment in time, the sources added.
The victim was identified as Anthonipillai Philipaiya, 62, one of the civilians fleeing war in Vanni and held in the SLA detention centre in Mirusuvil Catholic Church premises.
Philipaiya had been infected with some disease initially due to the heavily overcrowded atmosphere in the centre which lacks proper hygienic facilities. The prevailing unusual heat due to climatic change further aggravates the situation.
A mobile unit of the Health Service visits the detention centres to attend to the medical needs of the inmates as SLA soldiers as do not permit them to go out for treatment.
However, when Philpaiya was seriously ill he was taken to Chaavakachcheari government hospital, guarded by police.
He was later transferred to JTH for further treatment where he died Saturday night.
The government hospitals in Chaavakacheari and Kodikaamam to which the civilians held in Thenmaraadchi SLA detention centres are taken to do not have enough medical staff or modern facilities to treat seriously ill patients.
The death of Philipaiya has caused great dissatisfaction and anxiety among the thousands of civilians packed in the SLA detention centres, according to IDP welfare organizations in Jaffna.