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Friday, June 23, 2017
Kamal Bogoda captured above scenes at the National Hospital yesterday morning
By Dilanthi Jayamanne-June 22, 2017
Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday warned that the government was prepared to take drastic action against the continuous strike launched by the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA).
Addressing the media at the Government Information Department, following Wednesday’s (21) incident, where undergraduates walked into the Health Ministry premises, Dr Senaratne flayed the GMOA for having resorted to a strike in protest against police action.
It was wrong for doctors to strike at a time the country was faced with a serious dengue epidemic situation, Minister Senaratne said. They were not fit to be called doctors, he added.
Commenting on Wednesday’s incident, Dr Senaratne said it had taken place on his public day. Planning for dengue control strategies were also being discussed at that time. Chairman of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) Prof. Carlo Fonseka had been scheduled to hand over documents on the proposed recommendations for minimal standards for medical education later that evening. But, all that had been disrupted by the incident at the Ministry, he said.
Dr. Senaratrne accused the Front Line Socialist Party and the Inter University Student Federation of being involved in the incident while the GMOA, too, had been prepared to resort to a strike in support of the protesters. "The irony is that those who attacked us were forced to seek the services of one of our hospitals subsequently when the police took action against their unruly behaviour," he said.
The Minister warned that the police would take necessary action against those responsible for the destruction of state property. The damage to vehicles alone amounted to over several million rupees. Estimates were still being prepared, he said.
Ministry Secretary Janaka Sugathadasa said steps had been taken to evacuate the employees of the Ministry when the incident occurred for their safety. Certain employees had been manhandled by the protesters and Ministry property destroyed, he added.
Acting Director General Health Services Dr. Sunil de Alwis said the incident was the most unpleasant one which he had faced during his 27 years of service at the Ministry.