Colombo sacks Tamil doctor for internment camp comments

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 December 2009, 13:09 GMT]
Sri Lanka Ministry of Health has interdicted a Tamil doctor, Dr Murali Vallipuranathan, for speaking out on the conditions on the detention camps, and informed him that the Ministry "found him to have acted in a manner that brought disrepute on the Government of Sri Lanka," Sri Lanka weekly Lakbima reported. Ministry of Health's communication, written in Sinhala dated 10th November 2009, said that Dr Vallipuranathan was being removed from service for causing disrepute to the Government of Sri Lanka, and that his salary was also being stopped.

According to reports in Lakbima, a Sinhala physician, Dr Chrishantha Abeysena, had sent an e-mail to his collegues including Dr. Vallipuranathan, titled “urgent” which said that the CNN was conducting a poll on whether the international community should intervene in Sri Lanka. Abeysena had requested those on his mailing list to answer in the negative.

In response, Dr Vallipuranathan had written back: “What do you want us to do? Observe silently the inhuman treatment taking place at the Forced Detention Camps (FDC) under the name of provision of health services and security? I think this is time for us (the medical professionals) to discuss this more openly without any racial feelings. I hope you are aware of what is really happening at the FDC. If not please watch Channel 4 and enlighten yourself," Lakbima article said.

Dr. Vallipuranathan had included in his e-mail the link to the Channel 4 report that showed Sri Lankan soldiers allegedly shooting unarmed Tamils, and had added: “Anyway IC (international community) will not interfere just because somebody votes at CNN. Await your kind response (except the white van reaction)...”

Lakbima report said that no charge sheet was filed, but Dr. Vallipuranathan had received a letter last month signed by Health Secretary stating that a preliminary inquiry found him guilty of bringing disrepute to Government of Sri Lanka, and that he was being interdicted pending further inquiries.

Lakbima said, after the indictment letter in November, Vallipuranathan had circulated another e-mail which said, "[t]hough I have clearly stated that I had expressed my private opinion because Dr.C. Abeysena sought my opinion, and it is my fundamental right to express private opinion which has no relevance to my position in the government service, I am now interdicted without a charge sheet issued to me so far," and added, "[p]erhaps this is the best way the reconciliation with minorities can take place in Sri Lanka at the end of the war."


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Lakbima: Tamil doctor on the mat for expressing private opinion


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