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අමාත්‍යංශ නියෝගය එනතුරු සිරුර ශීතාගාරයේ

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අමාත්‍යංශ නියෝගය එනතුරු සිරුර ශීතාගාරයේ


(සිරංගිකා ලොකුකරවිට)


ගාල්ල දෙද්දුගොඩ ප්‍රදේශයේ පදිංචිව සිටිය දී කොරෝනා ආසාදනය වීමෙන් මියගිය පුද්ගලයාගේ මළ සිරුරු ආදාහනය නොකර ශීතාගාරයක තබන ලෙස ගාල්ල අතිරේක මහේස්ත්‍රාත් පවිත්‍රා සංජීවනී පතිරණ මත්මිය අද (21) නියෝග කළාය.

අතිරේක මහේස්ත්‍රාත්වරිය මෙම නියෝගය කළේ, එම මරණය අධිකරණ වෛද්‍යවරුන්ගේ නිර්දේශය මත කොරෝනා මරණයක් බවට තීරණය කිරීමෙන් පසුව ආදාහනය කිරීම සඳහා යොමු කරන බවට ගාල්ල ශික්ෂණ රෝහලේ වැඩබලන හදිසි මරණ පරීක්ෂකවරයා තීන්දු කිරීමෙන් පසුව එයට එරෙහිව ඥාතීන් විසින් ගොනුකළ පැමිණිල්ල විභාගයට ගැනීමෙන් අනතුරුවය.

මියගොස් ඇත්තේ 84 හැවිරිදි මුස්ලිම් ජාතිකයෙකි. ඔහු තිදරු පියෙකු වන අතර, කොරෝනා වයිරසය ආසාදිතව සිට රෝහල්ගත කිරීමෙන් පසුව හෘද රෝගයක් හේතුවෙන් මිය ගියේය.

මෙම තැනැත්තාගේ දේහය නිරෝධායන නීති යටතේ රජයේ නියමයන්ට අනුව ආදාහනය කරන ලෙස ගාල්ල කරාපිටිය ශික්ෂණ රෝහලේ වැඩබලන හදිසි මරණ පරික්ෂක චන්ද්‍රසේන ලොකුගේ මහතා  නියෝග කර තිබියදී, ආදාහනය කරන්නේ නම් දේහය බාරනොගන්නා බව මිය ගිය අයගේ පුතා සඳහන් කර තිබේ.

කොරෝනා මරණ භූමදාන කිරීමේ හැකියාව පිළිබඳ සෞඛ්‍ය අමාත්‍යාංශය කරුණු අධ්‍යයනය කරමින් සිටින බැවින් ඒ පිළිබඳ අවසන් තීන්දුව ලැබෙන තුරු සිරුර ආදාහනය කිරීම වැළැක්වීමේ නියෝගයක් දෙන ලෙස එහිදී මරණකරුගේ ඥාතීහු අධිකරණයෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටියහ. කොරෝනා මරණ භූමදාන කිරීමේ හැකියාව පිළිබඳ අගමැතිවරයා සමඟ අධිකරණ අමාත්‍ය අලි සබ්රි මහතා ඇතුළු මුස්ලිම් ජාතික පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රීවරු පිරිසක් ඇතුළු නියෝජිතයන් සෞඛ්‍ය නිලධාරීන්ගේ ද සහභාගීත්වයෙන් පැවැත්වූ රැස්වීමක දී සාකච්ඡා කළ පරිදි ශීතාගාර පහසුකම් ලබාදීම සම්බන්ධයෙන් සෞඛ්‍ය අධ්‍යක්ෂ ජනරාල්වරයා විසින් අධිකරණ අමාත්‍යවරයාට යවන ලද ලිපියක් ද පැමිණිලි පාර්ශවය විසින් අධිකරණයට ඉදිරිපත් කර තිබිණි.

එම කරුණු සැළකිල්ලට ගත් අතිරේක මහේස්ත්‍රාත්වරිය මළ සිරුරු භූමදානය කිරීමට හැකියාවක් පවතින්නේ ද යන්න පිළිබඳ සෞඛ්‍ය අධ්‍යක්ෂ ජනරාල්වරයා විසින් අවසන් තීරණයක් ලැබෙන තුරු මෙම තැනැත්තාගේ මළ සිරුර ශීතාගාරයක් තුළ තැන්පත් කර තබන ලෙස නියෝග කළාය.

http://www.lankadeepa.lk/latest_news/%E0%B6%85%E0%B6%B8%E0%B7%8F%E0%B6%AD%E0%B7%8A%E2%80%8D%E0%B6%BA%E0%B6%82%E0%B7%81-%E0%B6%B1%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%BA%E0%B7%9D%E0%B6%9C%E0%B6%BA-%E0%B6%91%E0%B6%B1%E0%B6%AD%E0%B7%94%E0%B6%BB%E0%B7%94-%E0%B7%83%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%BB%E0%B7%94%E0%B6%BB-%E0%B7%81%E0%B7%93%E0%B6%AD%E0%B7%8F%E0%B6%9C%E0%B7%8F%E0%B6%BB%E0%B6%BA%E0%B7%9A/1-583637

 

ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයන්ට මව්බිමේ මිහිදන්වීමට අයිතිය දිය යුතුයි

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ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයන්ට මව්බිමේ මිහිදන්වීමට අයිතිය දිය යුතුයි


(නිමල කොඩිතුවක්කු)

ඕනෑම ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයෙක්ට තම මරණයෙන් පසු ගෞරවාන්විතව සිය මව්බිමෙහි මිහිදන්වීමට ඇති අයිතියට ඉඩ දිය යුතු බව සාධාරණ සමාජයක් සදහා වූ ජාතික ව්‍යාපාරයේ සභාපති හිටපු කථානායක කරු ජයසූරිය මහතා සඳහන් කරයි.

ලෝක සෞඛ්‍ය සංවිධානය හා එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ සංවිධානය විසින් මේ වනවිටත් ලබාදී ඇති නිර්ණායකයන්ට හා මඟපෙන්වීම්වලට ගරු කරමින් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මුස්ලිම් ජාතිකයන්ගේ අවමංගල්‍ය කටයුතු ඔවුන්ගේ ගරුත්වයට හේතුවන ආගමික සිරිත් අනුව සිදුකිරීමට අවශ්‍ය පියවර ගන්නා ලෙසට රජයෙන් ඉල්ලීමක් කරන බවත් ජයසූරිය මහතා නිවේදනයක් නිකුත් කරමින් සඳහන් කරයි.

එම නිවේදනයේ තවදුරටත් මෙසේද සඳහන් වේ.

"ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ උපන් සිංහල දෙමල,මුස්ලිම් හෝ වෙනත් ඕනෑම ජාතිකත්වයකට හෝ ජන වර්ගයකට අයත් පුද්ගලයෙකුට තම මරණයෙන් පසු ස්වකීය මව්බිමෙහි ගෞරවාන්විතව මිහිදන්වීමට අවස්ථාවක් නොදී බලහත්කාරයෙන් වෙනත් රටක භූමදාන කිරීමට කටයුතු යොදන්නේ නම් එය මියයන පුද්ගලයන්ට මෙන්ම ශ්‍රී ලංකාවටද කරන්නා වූ බලවත් අවමානයකි. එවැනි යම් හෝ උත්සහයක් මඟින් සිදුකරන්නේ රටක් ලෙස ශ්‍රී ලංකාව බලවත් හෑල්ලුවට ලක්කිරීමකි.

කොවිඩ් වසංගතයෙන් මියයන ලාංකීය මුස්ලිම් ජාතිකයන් මාලදිවයින තුළ භූමදාන කිරීම සඳහා ශ්‍රී ලංකා රජය එරට සමඟ සාකච්ජා කළ බවට පලවූ වාර්තාවන් පිලිබදව සාධාරණ සමාජයක් සඳහා වන ජාතික ව්‍යාපාරය බලවත් කනස්සල්ට පත්වූ අතර මේ ආකාරයට අප මාතෘ භූමිය කවරෙකු විසින් හෝ හෑල්ලුවට ලක්කිරීම ගැන සංවිධානයක් ලෙස අපි දැඩි ලෙස සංවේගයට පත්ව සිටින්නෙමු.

කෝවිඩ් 19 වෛරසය හේතුවෙන් මියයන පුද්ගලයන්ගේ අවසන් කටයුතු සිදු කිරීමේදී අනුගමනය කල යුතු ආකාරයන් පිලිබදව ලෝක සෞඛ්‍ය සංවිධානය මෙන්ම එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ සංවිධානයද ලබාදී ඇති උපමාන වලට පරිබාහිරව කටයුතු කිරීම  මඟින් මෙන්ම වෛද්‍ය විද්‍යා ක්ෂේත්‍රෙය් පිලිගත් පර්යේෂණ නිගමනයන්ට බැහැරව යමින් අදානග්‍රාහිත්වයෙන් යුතුව කටයුතු කිරීම නොකල යුත්තකි. අප කුමන හෝ කරුණක් මුල් කරගනිමින් එවැනි අගතිගාමී ස්ථාවරයන්ට එළඹෙන්නේ නම් එමඟින් සිදු කරන්නේ ශීලාචාර ලෝක ප්‍රජාවගෙන් අප මාතෘ භූමිය දුරස් කිරීමකි. ශ්‍රී ලංකා රජය මේ පිලිබදව ගැඹුරින් තේරුම්ගත යුතුව තිබේ.
මෙම සංවේදී කාරණයට අදාලව රජය නොයෙක් ආකාරයේ සාකච්ජාවන්හි නිරතව සිටින බවට වාර්තා පළවන්නේ වුවද මේ දක්වාම නිශ්චිත වූ යහපත් තීරණයක් ගැනීමට ප්‍රමාද කිරීම තේරුම්ගත නොහැකිය. එමඟින් සිදුවන්නේ ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මුස්ලිම් ජනතාව වෙනස් කොට සලකන බවට බාහිර සමාජය තුළ අපකීර්තිමත් මතයක් ගොඩනැගීමට අනුබල සැපයීමකි. එමෙන්ම ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට එරෙහිව කටයුතු කිරීමට අපේක්ෂා කරන ඕනෑම ආකාරයේ අන්තවාදී බලවේගන්ට අවශ්‍ය ඉඩකඩ නිර්මාණය කිරීමකි. මේ වනවිටත් ලෝකයේ රටවල් ගණනාවකම ප්‍රධාන නගර කිහිපයකදීම ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට එරෙහිව සංවිධානය කර තිබූ විරෝධතා රැළි කෙරෙහි අවධානය යොමුකිරීම මඟින් ද ඒ බව අවබෝධ කරගත හැක.

ඒ අනුව සාධාරණ සමාජයක් සඳහා වන ජාතික ව්‍යාපාරය මේ අවස්ථාවේදී රජයෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ යුක්තියේ, සාධාරණත්වයේ මෙන්ම මනුෂ්‍යත්වයේ නාමයෙන් බුද්ධිමත්ව තීන්දු තීරණ ගන්නා ලෙසටය. ලෝක මට්ටමේ පිලිගත් විශේෂඥ උපදෙස් මත ක්‍රියාකරමින් ලෝක සෞඛ්‍ය සංවිධානය හා එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ සංවිධානය විසින් මේ වනවිටත් ලබාදී ඇති නිර්ණායකයන්ට හා මඟපෙන්වීම්වලට ගරු කරමින් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මුස්ලිම් ජාතිකයන්ගේ අවමංගල්‍ය කටයුතු ඔවුන්ගේ ගරුත්වයට හේතුවන ආගමික සිරිත් අනුව සිදුකිරීමට අවශ්‍ය පියවර ගන්නා ලෙසටය.

http://www.lankadeepa.lk/news/%E0%B7%81%E0%B7%8A%E2%80%8D%E0%B6%BB%E0%B7%93-%E0%B6%BD%E0%B7%8F%E0%B6%82%E0%B6%9A%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%9A%E0%B6%BA%E0%B6%B1%E0%B7%8A%E0%B6%A7-%E0%B6%B8%E0%B7%80%E0%B7%8A%E0%B6%B6%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%B8%E0%B7%9A-%E0%B6%B8%E0%B7%92%E0%B7%84%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%AF%E0%B6%B1%E0%B7%8A%E0%B7%80%E0%B7%93%E0%B6%B8%E0%B6%A7-%E0%B6%85%E0%B6%BA%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%AD%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%BA-%E0%B6%AF%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%BA-%E0%B6%BA%E0%B7%94%E0%B6%AD%E0%B7%94%E0%B6%BA%E0%B7%92/101-583671

 

Analysing Sumanthiran: A Reality Check On Hejaaz, Muslim Politicians & Lawyers

By Mass L. Usuf

Mass Usuf

On 09/12/2020, at the Committee Stage Debate in the Parliament on the Appropriation (2021) Bill, Honourable Member of Parliament Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran made some terse remarks given the limited time allotted to him.

He justified the need for an international inquiry and international judicial process to look into serious crimes committed in this country which has an impact on international law. In order to drive home his point, he alluded to several instances and, euphemistically made reference to the “depths to which your judicial system has sunk”. As a recent example he cited Mr. Hejaaz Hizbullah, an Attorney at Law who is currently in detention. Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran said, “a brilliant young lawyer denied justice for eight months. All kinds of false allegations were made against him.” Further, he drew attention to the fact that if there were any grounds for prosecution, they should have filed charges against him. The Opposition Member of Parliament questioned the Minister of Justice Mr. Ali Sabry “what were you doing for eight months?”

 

Voicing concern over the sacrosanct Attorney/Client communication, he pointed out that two of the client briefs of Attorney Mr. Hejaaz Hisbullah were taken away. He also deplored the fact that Hejaaz had not been given proper access to his lawyer. Mr. Sumanthiran then emphatically asked the million-dollar question, “if you treat a lawyer like that how do we expect you to treat anybody else?”

Silencing The Voice

Like Mr. Sumanthiran not many Muslim politicians dare to express themselves in Parliament. One may question, why not? The answer is in the lack of cohesiveness between the Muslim politicians, at least on matters of common interest. It is very rare. Some are gagged by the influence of external factors, political slavery. Ironically, among them are also those probably not really aware why the hell they are sitting in Parliament – day dreaming!

 

As for the handful of the handful who wish to speak, the moment they do say something relating to the detention of Hejaaz and the many others or on any matter relating to the Easter Sunday attack, they would be accused of aiding and abetting extremism. Many government members in Parliament, deliberately do not allow the person to speak by drowning his voice with louder noise of interruptions and unruly behaviour.

Hot on the heels of such accusations are the notorious spin doctors, the media. They would build up a misleading or deceptive story incriminating the politician to create a negative impact of that person. Other vested interests, in this grand agenda, would pick it up from there and give their own interpretation, modify and reframe the allegations exacerbating the negative public opinion created. By this method the voice of the few who have the nerve to speak are often silenced or overwhelmed by disturbance. Freedom of expression, leave alone outside the Parliament, even under the Parliamentary Privileges has been stultified in our august assembly by vested interests.

Psychological Torture

 

Mr. Hejaaz Hizbullah is not alone. Like him there are so many others under detention orders unable to make sense of what is in store for them. Neither charged nor released, they are in a continuous state of suspense. Just like a live bird in a skewer over fire. It does not want to die burning but, yet, it does not have the freedom to fly away. This state of affairs naturally causes much anxiety and depression not only to those who are detained in this manner but also to the near and dear ones. This is plain and simple mental torture violating the fundamental right against torture enshrined in the constitution besides the international ratifications.

(1) The Charter of the United Nations in relation to obligation of States under the Charter states in Article 55 (c):

“universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

(2) The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 banning torture mentions in Article 5:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

(3) The ban is further enshrined in Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

(4) The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment adopted in 1984 defines torture, in Article 1.1:

“For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person …”

Article 2.2

“No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

The infamous PTA

The infamous and dreaded Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, No. 48 of 1979 as amended provides the legality for such incarceration. The PTA was a law enacted to prevent terrorism but it is alleged that many people with no connection to terrorism have been arrested and detained under its provisions.

Imagine the sorry predicament of an Attorney who is supposed to work for the advancement of civil liberties, fearing for his own civil liberty. Is it something to laugh at or a signification of a continuously corroding system? The constant reminder of what happened to Hejaaz hangs like the Sword of Damocles over the head of Muslim lawyers. They were in other words indirectly pressurized into silence except for some selected Attorneys. Who would want to face the situation that Hejaaz Hizbullah is in? This form of pressure is not sustainable because with the passage of time, people do bounce back when the level of tolerance is exceeded.

Fear Psychosis At Work – Lawyers

With the arrest of Hejaaz, the Muslims lawyers felt an unprecedented sense of insecurity in their professional and personal life. Such was the threat of the PTA and its tool of unpredictable detention. Members of the legal profession are supposed to be in a privileged status because they are part of ‘the administration of justice and essential for the maintenance of law and order and the preservation and advancement of civil liberties and the maintenance in general of the rule of law’. (Professional Ethics, A.R.B. Amerasinghe, Page 43)

We also witnessed the most unfortunate split among lawyers on the matter of Hejaaz. Can it be considered fair if the public questions the depth to which the legal profession has sunk. (See: Gota’s ‘Sinhala-only’ lawyers mount offensive to keep Attorney Hejaaz Hizbullah in illegal detention, Colombo Telegraph: 02/05/2020).

Such unprofessionalism was openly noticed among some of the doctors too, who failed to speak out on Dr. Shafi’s issue, the so called ‘wanda pethi’ and so many other stupidest allegations made.

It is a shame to see professionalism being a pawn to racism and racist agendas. Professional ethics and conduct demand a level higher than the conduct of an average person. “The legal profession has a responsibility to ensure that its guiding principles are conceived in the public interest and not in furtherance of parochial or self-interest concerns of the Bar and its members.” (ibid, Page 43).

Unaware of the pressure, limitations and fear that had mentally terrorised most of the Muslim lawyers, the Muslim community was often accusing the Muslims lawyers for maintaining silence at times they were supposed to speak out.

In the words of Crampton J. in Rex v. O’Connell:

“This court in which we sit is a temple of justice; and the advocate at the bar, as well as the judges upon the benches, are equally ministers in that temple. The object of all equally should be the attainment of justice; now justice is to be reached through the ascertainment of the truth…”

It is time that the legal fraternity get their act together and function in furtherance of justice, equity and fairness. Let the lawyers stand up as true and good professionals and be an example to other professions as well. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka as the premier institution of the legal profession may have a major role to play in this area o

 

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/analysing-sumanthiran-a-reality-check-on-hejaaz-muslim-politicians-lawyers/?fbclid=IwAR2t-wtdscB6fUxBX74FHIfmtnbQqMDuSkjqBUOKSvChvzYYTl2QbWdJGs8

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“There were no virologists in the committees set up” - Prof Vitharana

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  • The authorities have to prospectively study and see if Ayurveda and traditional medicine would be beneficial
  • Govt. wanted to take credit when first COVID wave ended
  • Current viral strain is more infectious, but isn’t severe
  • Outcomes of vaccine uncertain as of now
  • Bulk of the budget should have been allocated for COVID-19 relief
  • If we are going to use the vaccine we can rely on what is recommended by WHO
  • So it’s the duty of the Government to ensure that economic activities are sustained at the maximum possible level
  • So far, the coronavirus doesn’t show a big shift, but a gradual drift
  • We have experts in the field, but none of them has been called for discussions
  • Our capacity for PCR testing is inadequate and we aren’t doing sufficient tests

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) National List MP Prof. Tissa Vitharana recently said that COVID-19 is now in the community and nobody has immunity against it since it’s a new virus. He made these observations in his capacity as a specialist in the fields of bacteriology and virology. Having obtained a Diploma in Bacteriology from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a Ph.D. in virology from the University of London, he also served as the Director of the Medical Research Institute in Colombo. He headed MRI’s virology department and apart from that he was a consultant virologist at the Edinburgh City Hospital’s Regional Virus Laboratory and deputy director of the Victoria Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Melbourne. He was the leader of the Lanka Samasamaja Party prior to joining the SLPP.

Following are excerpts of an interview Prof. Vitharana had with the Daily Mirror:

 

" The PHIs, midwives can do this health education programme, but the decision has to be taken from the top. This will be the lasting and cheapest solution rather than getting vaccines from abroad which are questionable"

 

Q Many are not aware that prior to being a leftist politician, you have had an extensive career as a medical expert specialized in virology and bacteriology. What should have been our plans to fight a global pandemic like COVID-19?

This is a global pandemic from a virus that probably originated from an animal source and it is completely new to the world. Therefore there’s no immunity against the virus and it’s like an open field. It’s a virus which spreads like the common cold, but the difference is that it goes right down to the chest and presses the lungs. Other viruses are confined to the nasal area. Around 80% are asymptomatic and therefore the infection can easily spread within the society. Therefore it has a so-called second wave which itself may extend further and become a big wave or drop off a bit if human behaviour is conditioned properly. Or it may reappear as a third wave. It’s not only easily spread, but would affect elderly people and those with chronic conditions, tipping the balance between life and death. Therefore it’s a novel problem and in every country there was no possibility of being prepared for it till it actually hit the society. Though people are finding fault with governments and various people I call it unfair. By and large the Government reacted quite quickly.

Q What is the alternative in that case?

What I have recommended is that at this particular stage we need an intensive health education programme where we make it known to every individual in the country that now it is a point of us not knowing whether we have it or not. We need to follow health precautions as a habit. Now there’s an element of fear and it is the authorities who are communicating the message and people are reacting to the authoritative approach. We see people wearing the mask on the neck and wearing it properly when they see the police. By this health education system it will be digested mentally and every person will realise that there’s a danger to one’s life out of self-interest. If we protect ourselves by observing these three rules then the virus itself will die out of the country and we will be free of the epidemic. The PHIs, midwives can do this health education programme, but the decision has to be taken from the top. This will be the lasting and cheapest solution rather than getting vaccines from abroad which are questionable.

Q Do you observe any loopholes in the way Sri Lanka attempted to stop the spread of the virus?

During the cluster stage everything was efficient. Both the service personnel as well as the health personnel who participated in it from the highest level down did a great job. Now in this new stage necessary action is not being taken. It maybe taken here and there, but not like a definite programme. Earlier in my medical career the main cause of death was diarrhoea especially among children. Therefore the health ministry setup a diarrhoea eradication committee. We had a lot of discussions on causes, treatments etc. But before we did all those we said we’ll take some simple public health measures. These include washing hands with soap and water once they use the washroom, doing the same before sitting down to a meal and the water should be boiled prior to consuming. That health education was introduced at school level and incorporated into the curriculum. As a result everybody developed it into a habit. So we can do the same with regard to COVID-19 as well. But this has to be accepted from the top.

Q One key concern was getting technical expertise. What are your views/concerns about keeping aside experienced individuals like you and allowing the military to take control of the matters?

It started as a military exercise for the simple reason that the military was ready at hand, organised, quick to get into action and enforce restrictions initially. But now it is entirely a matter for the health personnel to handle which should be supported by the army and the police.

Q Prior to the second wave, Sri Lanka maintained a lesser number of cases and retained number of deaths to 10. Why was it impossible during the second wave? Was it due to the heavy viral load in this strain or because patient zero was unknown or the authorities didn’t take matters seriously?

The Government also wanted to take credit and said we have controlled the situation. If there’s a particular cluster, say in Borella for example, people living outside that area thought that there’s no cluster there. But we would have been intermingling with people having the virus. Especially when the occurrence of cases and deaths came to a standstill, people thought the problem was over. From there it flared up again and that led to the so-called second wave. It’s clearly a matter of human behaviour. We have to have a real understanding and follow health guidelines for our own survival, incorporating them into our normal behaviour patterns.

"More than 20-30 companies are now claiming over 90% positivity. Since fear has been generated, people are being rushed to buy it. But we shouldn’t fall for that trap. If we are going to use the vaccine we can rely on what is recommended by WHO"

Q Although you mentioned that the spread has gone beyond clusters towards a community spread, statements by the authorities such as Epidemiology Unit repeatedly deny such claims. They were referring to the definitions given by WHO thereby claiming that we haven’t reached community transmission stage. Is this a situation where people can go by such definitions?

The WHO guidelines have been based on available knowledge. These are only guidelines. They don’t lay down the rules, but we have to decide on how we will tackle it. They only point out possibilities and guidelines to protect the community. But we have to use our judgements to decide what is best for the people. There may be social practices that facilitate the spread and after all people’s behaviours differ from country to country.

Q Let’s talk about PCR and Rapid Antigen testing. Does Sri Lanka  have the capacity to conduct them and what are your thoughts on the results?

In the case of PCR tests, they have been used for diagnosing so many illnesses. But for each virus you need to develop a special test. For instance, the efficacy of the test itself is about 70% and around 30% are being missed. Our capacity for PCR testing is inadequate and we aren’t doing sufficient tests. Therefore more research needs to be done to improve the quality of tests. At the Medical Research Institute and Sri Jayawardenapura University, we have trained people to improve tests to obtain 100% results. This needs continuous research where you need to change conditions such as acidity, alkalinity, quantity of different reagents and experiment. PCR tests are done widely for different conditions and generally the positivity rate is over 90%. But what is now available in Sri Lanka and around the world is below par. We have experts in the field, but none of them has been called for discussions. On the other hand, this is a virus, but as far as I know, there were no virologists in the committees that were set up. When you’re trained in a particular discipline you get to know all aspects of it and be able to adapt it to suit the problem.  We should have made use of the trained personnel we have, but the idea that it should be done by people with connections is the kind of thinking we have.

Q Are Rapid Antigen Tests any better?

The Rapid Test is very much cheaper, the test itself is quick and results are produced quickly. But the number of positive cases it picks up is around 60%, which is less than that produced by PCR tests. I suggest that both tests should be used.

Q This global pandemic said to have spread from Wuhan in China is also seen through a geopolitical perspective. Even there are allegations that the pandemic is being used as a biological weapon. In a way there is evidence to support this as some economies, specially in the Europe, have failed while other economies have managed to survive or thrive. Your comments?

In China, when you have a population of 1.5 billion, it is not a surprise to see a virus emerging. It cannot start from a population of 20 million like that in Sri Lanka. When it comes to viruses, there are stable viruses that don’t undergo genetic changes. For instance the small pox virus is stable and the vaccine that was prepared was effective and stayed effective till the end, so we could eliminate it altogether. But there are other viruses that change their genetic configuration and could be of two varieties; there could be a gradual change that takes place once or once in two years, which causes minor outbreaks which is called an antigenic drift. Once in about five to ten years there is a big change, which is called an antigenic shift. Therefore the body faces a different virus from what it faced earlier and the immune system is also not recognising the virus. Then you find that it spreads like wildlife and turns into a pandemic. So far, the coronavirus doesn’t show a big shift, but a gradual drift. What I heard from my virology contacts is that the strain of virus that is now circulating is more infectious, but isn’t severe. So we have to watch how it evolves and respond proactively.

Q The pandemic also highlighted a stark contrast among social classes. In a way, the rich can survive through it while the poor are left to die. How do you see this as a leftist political leader?

This is where we are facing a challenge like facing a foreign invasion and we have to protect our people. The most vulnerable individuals need to be safeguarded. The requirement to maintain distancing means that many companies have cut down on staff or closed them down and small businesses too will be badly affected. So it’s the duty of the Government to ensure that economic activities are sustained at the maximum possible level. People should receive livelihood support and if there’s a shortfall the Government should top it up. Measures also have to be taken to take care of people getting displaced and those having to go home with no source of income need to be financially assisted. It may then be possible to get alternative sources of income, new ventures can be developed and the Government should play the leading role. The Government can obtain assistance from private sector if the need arises.

Q But there were discrepancies in distributing the Rs.5000 relief and the budget didn’t address a relief system for those affected. Do you think it should be revised?

Definitely. There should have been a much bigger allocation for COVID-19 and its consequences. In fact the bulk of the budget should have been for that. I would have put long-term ventures on hold and given priority to the immediate needs of the people. We need to workout on priorities and address them accordingly. Those who are affected now are suffering. That should be given priority.

Q As an expert in this subject don’t you think that a vaccine against a viral infection should have been tested for a number of years?

It’s a new type of vaccine called mRNA and it’s a new illness. Even during natural infections what has emerged from laboratories is that antibody formation is short lived. Therefore the vaccine itself may not offer protection for very long and therefore people may have to be prescribed repeated doses. As such it’s uncertain how effective it will be. In order to get a sufficient vaccine to effectively break the transmission you need to  immunise at least 70-80% of the population. This is going to be costly and the outcomes are uncertain.

Q The availability of a life saving vaccine will depend on the capitalistic market system. Would there be any possibility to avoid it?

I’m sorry to say this, but after the armaments industry the second biggest source of profits is the medicinal drug industry. One aspect of it is the production of vaccines. There has to be investment and so on, but when they come up with a vaccine, they try to cash-in on the fear to sell the product and may even come up with bogus data. Those should be tested by accepted reference and laboratories linked to WHO and the outcomes must be confirmed. Then they maybe used. More than 20-30 companies are now claiming over 90% positivity. Since fear has been generated, people are being rushed to buy it. But we shouldn’t fall for that trap. If we are going to use the vaccine we can rely on what is recommended by WHO. This is because they always ensure that the best laboratories test them out, carry out population studies and results are examined carefully. Once they establish that its efficacy is over 90% then they give the go-ahead to use it. In that case we can act on it.

Q Another division of social class will be seen once the vaccine is made available to the populace. How should governments such as those in developing nations look at ensuring the equal distribution and accessibility to the vaccine?

If the WHO gives it free for 20% of the population, that would be adequate to protect the vulnerable groups. This means those who are liable to get severe diseases and die. Once you get that, people will still get infected but those who are healthy to withstand the infection may not succumb to it.

Q Ayurveda and traditional medicine have become a trending topic today. Can traditional medicine cure a mutating viral strain such as COVID-19?

Traditional medicine has been used widely in our country. They have been used over a period of time and people continue to use it if they feel they have benefits. But this is a new problem. There’s no past history which we can fall back on. So we have to prospectively study and see if it will be beneficial or not. There are traditional medicines which have been attributed to increase one’s immune ability and people take them for a long period on that premise. If there are responsible scientists who have verified and tested outcomes they can establish whether it is beneficial or not. They could check if the medicine could prevent the infection or make it milder or whether they have any curative effect. There are medicines available that were effective against other viral infections, so they can try it out against COVID-19 and see if they’re effective. Antivirals tend to be specific for some viruses and the range is smaller. All these need to be tried out. We can only draw conclusions in the future when we compare the outcomes.

We are approaching a new year and it looks like we will have to live with the virus for sometime. What are the immediate measures the Government should execute at this point?

We don’t need to harbour  an unnecessary fear. We know that the percentage mortality is less than 5%. So there’s no major degree of threat and in our country the count has been less. That doesn’t mean that we have to be overconfident and careless. But we need to realise that we are in a position to protect ourselves and in the process get rid of the virus. Therefore Sri Lankans who return should be carefully isolated minutely, so that they don’t infect anybody. If we can act in that way I’m sure we can minimise the risk to ourselves. We must get back to normal economic life while taking necessary preventive measures.

http://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/There-were-no-virologists-in-the-committees-set-up-Prof-Vitharana/172-201444

 

 

MP Sumanthiran questions denial of justice for Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah

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Written by Pavani Hapuarachchi    10 Dec,

2020 | 4:14 PM



COLOMBO (News 1st): Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah who is a brilliant lawyer has been denied justice for eight months now with no evidence to prove he is guilty of being charged, MP Sumanthiran told Parliament on Wednesday (Dec. 09).

YouTube Link :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1mikU04Rwg&feature=youtu.be



“What are you doing for eight months if you had evidence that he was involved in anything at all? You could have charged him with that?” queried Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) Member of Parliament – M.A. Sumanthiran, while claiming that false allegations were being levelled against Hejaaz Hizbullah.

According to MP Sumanthiran, when Hizbullah’s house was searched, authorities had even seized his case briefs, which is a violation of sacrosanct attorney-client privilege.

“When his house was searched and he was arrested, they took away two of his case briefs; not even in a court of law can questions be asked with regard to communication between client and attorney, you know that very well. There are only two instances of privilledge, one husband/wife and the other is attorney/client privilledge. That’s how sacrosanct communication between a lawyer and his client is,” MP Sumanthiran emphasized.

The Parliamentarian also questioned as to whether a lawyer can be blamed for crimes committed by a client later on adding if there is a connection, it should be brought to light with Hizbullah being produced in court.

“Can’t he have clients? Can’t he handle cases for people who are later found to have committed other crimes? Is a lawyer to be blamed? Alright, even if you did that, in those files if you found anything you could’ve brought that to light. You could’ve produced him before the court. Nothing to-date,” MP Sumanthiran told parliament.

Further commenting, he pointed out that the allegations with regard to Qatar Charity and a school are both baseless as Qatar Charity and the said school are functioning without any hindrance to this day.

While claiming that the state itself benefits from Qatar Charity, MP Sumanthiran questioned as to how can Hizbullah be accused of having been involved with it; “He is said to have got some assistance from Qatar Charity. Qatar Charity is still running, it’s still involved. The state is a beneficiary as well. What is wrong with Qatar Charity? You can have it, you can use it, but you accuse him of being involved in Qatar Charity?”.

Commenting on the family of Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah, MP Sumanthiran said he has been denied of seeing his wife and newborn child, while free access to lawyers has also been denied, with a police officer being present to take down notes on the conversations between Hizbullah and his attorneys.

Thereby, the MP queried the parliament as to how anyone can expect to be treated equally when even a lawyer himself is denied the legal privileges and treated poorly.

“I’m picking one emblematic case to show how many more thousands are suffering like this. I’m picking that case because he is a lawyer. If you treat a lawyer like that, how do you expect anybody else to be treated any better? A lawyer who is well known, a lawyer who is regarded as a brilliant advocate in our courts is being treated like this,” ITAK MP M.A. Sumanthiran told parliament on Wednesday (Dec. 09).

https://www.newsfirst.lk/2020/12/10/mp-sumanthiran-questions-denial-of-justice-for-attorney-at-law-hejaaz-hizbullah/?fbclid=IwAR3Cm-DrN8-47Zxl3Izjv_rgcVczONj7S6NdMtdVazVwWgguBWDtYkf_gyY



   

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