|Meera Mohideen’s story
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|Author:||Nimalchandra [ Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:51 am ]|
|Post subject:||Meera Mohideen’s story|
Meera Mohideen’s story
The fate of the witness for the state
Mohideen’s saga is reminiscent of tales from other totalitarian states, where dissidents and inconvenient persons used to be locked up in psychiatric wards. What is rather remarkable is that doctors and hospital authorities have cooperated in this charade, which is contrary to all professional norms.
By University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna)
@ DM / Saturday, June 02, 2007
On 17th September 2006, 10 Muslim labourers were hacked to death allegedly with the involvement of the STF (see Special Rep. No.23). The lone survivor Meera Mohideen who had a gash on his throat was the following day dispatched by ambulance to Kalmunai Hospital that is in a predominantly Muslim area. From almost the doorstep of Kalmunai Hospital, the Police on the order of DIG Amparai, re-routed the ambulance to Amparai Hospital in a predominantly Sinhalese area. From Amparai Hospital the Police claimed that Mohideen had testified to the LTTE being the perpetrators of the crime. Further, a Muslim Minister Athaullah was sent to obtain a video testimony from Mohideen to implicate the LTTE, which was posted on the Defence Ministry web site. The video showed a medical man in overalls holding something against the throat of the injured victim as he spoke haltingly.
The Press, especially the government media, went to town with the ‘evidence’ against the LTTE. The Amparai Hospital authorities told the media that the victim was almost recovered and would be discharged in a few days. This was reported in the Daily News of 4th October 2006. In the normal order of things the Police should have reported to the Akkaraipattu Magistrate Mr. Manaf the testimony he supposedly gave them implicating the LTTE and it would have been the Magistrate’s duty to summon him, test the evidence in court and put to shame all those misguided Muslims who had been accusing the STF of the massacre. But, lo and behold, the star witness became the victim of an astounding disappearing act. The media who had elevated him to stardom simply forgot, after 4th October, that he ever existed.
Inquiries by interested persons in Pottuvil revealed that producing him before the Akkaraipattu Magistrate was the last thing the authorities had in mind. The Police had taken him to Colombo Hospital and placed him in a paying ward. Once when his son-in-law went to see him, he was again missing. Alarm was raised and Muslims of influence started making frantic inquiries.
A senior Muslim, with very good contacts in the security forces, said authoritatively that Meera Mohideen, who was irritated with his placement in Colombo Hospital, had been taken to the Amparai District and held for a few days in an STF camp, possibly Sastriveli Camp, which allegedly masterminded the massacre of Muslims.
Meera Mohideen is now back with his daughter in Pottuvil, thoroughly intimidated by the experience. He was never produced before a magistrate. In his present state of mind his value as a witness is in doubt and is yet to be tested.
Mohideen’s saga is reminiscent of tales from other totalitarian states, where dissidents and inconvenient persons used to be locked up in psychiatric wards. What is rather remarkable is that doctors and hospital authorities have cooperated in this charade, which is contrary to all professional norms. This too is made possible by the daily propaganda they, even as medical professionals, encounter, appealing to their patriotism defined in Sinhalese hegemonic terms with constant calls to support the security forces. Meera Mohideen’s story shows what the latter involves. It is the same mindset that guided the Welikade cover up.
Mohideen’s story also gives an idea of the extent to which the magistracy has been degraded, including by real fears of arbitrary punishment by the JSC and the ruin of magistrates’ careers. Normally the magistrate would have enjoyed considerable powers to protect a key witness like Mohideen and to advance strong action against those who tried to tamper with his evidence. Apart from being criminal, those who connived in attempts to hide Mohideen and his evidence would have been guilty of contempt of court. The point is that the patient had to be diverted from Kalmunai Hospital where he would have been at home to a Sinhalese administered system that was more conducive to tampering with the judicial process.
One needs to confront the reality that ethnicity has pervaded crucial aspects of our life, giving the lie to slogans in Colombo that we are one nation and one people. Presently there is no doubt in Pottuvil who was behind the massacre. Among those in the region who feel very angry over the cover up are Muslims who served in the security forces. Underlying the Pottuvil massacre is the thrust of advancing Sinhalese ideological claims to land in the East.
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