Internatinal news from Sri Lanka – “Hospital in No Fire Zone not shelled”
Posted on May 13th, 2009

Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

Editor

Metro Newspaper

London

 

Dear Editor

Various reports have been circulating in the international media during the past few days, including your news paper (Metro) in a generalised manner about Sri Lankan troops shelling a No Fire Zone in Northern Sri Lanka where government security forces are engaged in a humanitarian exercise to save fleeing Tamil citizens in the area from the clutches of  LTTE terrorists . This has been vigorously condemned and refuted by Sri Lankan authorities.

 I am a journalist who had worked as the London correspondent for many years from London and now based in Sri Lanka.  I  would like to highlight  Sri Lanka’s  Ministry of Health version  in order that your readership will  be able to get the Government version as well which will  make your news item balanced. 

“Hospital in No Fire Zone not shelled”

Sri Lankan Government reacts to adverse International news reporting.

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando reporting from Colombo

 

Dr. H.A.P Kahandaliyanage, Secretary Health Care and Nutrition , Sri Lanka, has questioned the veracity and credibility of statements  attributed  to a  “ƒ”¹…”doctor’ working  in the no-fire zone in the North-East of Sri Lanka which has caused  a public outrage in the international press, deletion and electronic media.

He has  confirmed that according to The Provincial Director of Health Services in the Northern Province  “a doctor named Shammugarajah had been employed as a Medical Officer in the Mullative District but he has had no contact with the Provincial Health Authorities or the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition since October 2008. Consequently, no credibility could be given to statements released by Dr. Shanmugarajah in any capacity”.

Secretary of Health Care and Nutrition further cautions against reliance on the statements made by this person wearing Dr. Shanmuganathan’s overalls!  His advice to the international community is that they should view any future statements if released by this alleged District Medical Officer (DMO) with caution as the Sri Lankan Provincial Health Authorities and the Ministry of Health and Nutrition has had no information as to the existence and whereabouts of this officer since October 2008. They are of the view that such statements are being made with vested interests of bringing the government of Sri Lanka in to disrepute.

The spokesperson for Defence Affairs, Sri Lanka, Minister Kehiliya Rambukwella,  has brushed aside allegations about the Sri Lankan troops shelling a makeshift hospital in the No Fire zone (NFZ) during the last weekend as reported in certain international media.  ” Troops have nothing to do with shelling  incidents in the NFZ since they are not using heavy arms, Besides troops are engaged  in a humanitarian  mission are cautiosly stepping forward with least harm to civilians”, he  added.

During the weekly news briefing at the Media Centre for National Security in Colombo, Minister Rambukwella asserted that Tamil net, which is a pro-LTTE website, was providing fabricated and biased information to misguide the world and the Sri Lanka government has proved on many an occasion about their fabricated information. He assured the local and foreign journalists at the news briefing that the report filed by Dr. Shanmugarajah was false and soon the government will be able to put the cat out of bag as to who was behind the carnage that took place in the NFZ.

Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

Colombo    

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