Fear of a calculated move to drive the Sinhalese into extinction systematically prompted a leading Buddhist monk of Kesbewea and a group of residents of the area to protest against an NGO-sponsored tubectomy programme being implemented at the Piliyandala Hospital yesterday.
Chief Incumbent of the Kesbewa Jayasundaramaya Ven. Kamburipitiye Nandaratane thera rushed to the hospital yesterday morning while the LRToperations were in progress.
He told the medical staff that there was a sinister attempt by various NGOs to eliminate the Sinhales by luring young mothers with money into opting for LRT.
The hospital authorites were compelled to stop the operations due to protests. The family planning project is sponsored by an NGO called Population Lanka Service, which is promoting vasectomy and tubectomy surgeries.
For yesterday s operations, permission had been granted by the Western Provincial Director of Health.
Ven. Nandaratane thera told the NGO personnel that Australian aborigines, Red Indians and Sinhalese were under the threat of extinction and accused them of trying to destroy the Sinhala community.
Medical Officer of Health (MOH) Piliyandala Dr. A. Mandalawattha, when contacted said that it was he who had been organizing tubectomy surgeries with the consent of females.
The Family Health Association and Population Lanka Service were NGOs which had sponsored the family planning programme.
Around 300 to 600 females had been registered for tubectomy surgery in the Piliyandala area and the medical team could have performed around 40 tubectomy yesterday if the Chief Incumbent had not intervened, he said.
He added that the vasectomy operation was legal in Sri Lanka and the Health authorities would never perform the operation without the compliance of the person. The Ligation and Resection of Tube (LRT) of females could be operated with the consent of their husbands. The women should have at least two children and be above 27 years of age. On his request the Provincial Health Director had sent a letter to the Piliyandala DMO to permit the use of the labour room for tubectomy surgery.
However, the protesters claimed that some of the mothers who had offered to under LRT had only one child each.
Director General Health Services Dr. Ajith Mendis said that the tubectomy surgery was legal in Sri Lanka and denied that it was performed to destroy the Sinhalese. He said that all these operations were performed with a high degree of hygienic conditions by competent physicians. The Health Ministry would never allow unqualified persons to perform such operations in government-run hospitals, he said.
Healthcare Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the Health Ministry had authorized Provincial Health Directors to grant permission to qualified medical personnel to use government hospitals because tubectomy was legal in Sri Lanka. It was a fundamental right of Sri Lanka people. The involvement of NGOs in such programmes would not create problems because the persons for such operations were supposed to appear before a selection committee.
He pointed out that any person who wished to voluntarily undergo the tubectomy or vasectomy surgeries could obtain the assistance of the relevant authorities and the Health Ministry, Health authorities would never allow medical personnel to perform such operations without a woman s and her husbands conset.
If the Health Ministry found any doctor performing such operations without the consent of the person the Health Ministry would institute legal action against the doctor concerned, he said.