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If govt. had cared to order vaccines in Jan. country would have been safe now

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By Saman Indrajith

The JVP yesterday said that the Covid vaccination drive was doomed to fail owing to the government’s inefficiency and political interference.

JVP Propaganda Secretary MP Vijitha Herath, addressing the media, at the party headquarters, said that the government had not made timely decisions to launch the vaccine rollout. “There is a vaccination crisis. The government could not place orders in time for the vaccines. Even countries much poorer than Sri Lanka have done better. Morocco obtained its stock by Jan 21. Myanmar had purchased 3.7 million vaccines, Bangladesh purchased seven million vaccines. They were among the first countries to place orders with vaccine producing companies. Some ministers said that the government would vaccinate half of the population by the end of May.

MP Herath said that if the government had made right decisions at the right time and implemented them, the present crisis could have been averted. The Indian Foreign Minister visited the country on Jan 5 to 7 and stated that his country was willing to accommodate Sri Lanka on priority list to give vaccines. However, at that time the Medical Research Institute had not given approval for the vaccines from any country. “So we missed the bus.”

It was on Jan 22 the approval was granted for AstraZeneca vaccine. But the government placed the orders much later. If the government had done so in January, there would not have been any crisis situation now. Even the vaccines that had been procured were not given to people properly. They were given to people who carried chits from politicians. Political leaders of various levels were messing up with the inoculation process.

“During the first round of inoculation 600,000 doses were given to people but the government did not stock enough doses for booster shots. People in Colombo who had their first dose gathered at the Abhyaramaya temple even overlooking health regulations. Finally, the monks there too admit that the government’s vaccination drive was a failure.

“It is heartening to see that in some places health officials openly disregarded the chits and requests of favours by politicians. We should appreciate their courage and be proud of the fact that we still have brave health workers with backbone to stand against the unjust.”



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MP’s wife, father-in-law among three detained

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Rishad held under PTA to be questioned

16-year-old girl’s death:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating the death of 16-year-old Ishalini, the domestic servant at All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen’s Baudhaloka Mawatha residence have arrested Ayesha Shiabdeen, 46, the wife of the former minister.

Police also took into custody Rishad’s father-in-law Mohammed Shiabdeen, 70, and Ponnaiah Pandaram alias Shankar, 64, a resident of Dayagama.

Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said that Shankar had brought Ilashini from Dayagama to the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Vanni District lawmaker late last year.

Having studied the post postmortem report, they were taken into custody in terms of Section 360 C and Section 308 B of the Penal Code that dealt with human trafficking and cruelty to children, the top police officer said. According to him, so far 20 statements had been recorded.

Asked whether MP Bathiudeen, too, had been among the questioned, Senior DIG Rohana said the parliamentarian detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, too, would be interrogated in that regard.

The ACMC contested the last general election on the SJB ticket. It switched its allegiance to the SJB ahead of 2020 general election after having represented the cabinet in UNP led yahapalana administration. Rishad has also served President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet during his second term.

Having suffered serious burn injuries on July 3 at the MP’s residence and admitted to the National Hospital, Illashini succumbed to her injuries on July 15th. Medical examination revealed that she had been raped over a period of time.

The police spokesman said that they intended to secure court approval to detain the suspects for 72 hours. A Superintendent of Police could obtain such approval on the strength of a B report submitted to the court in respect of offenses on children.

Although, the police indicated earlier in the day they would be produced in Colombo Magistrate court they weren’t brought in.

Meanwhile, the SJB said that interested parties were making a despicable attempt to politicize the incident. The police should be allowed to conduct the investigation without interference, a spokesman for the main Opposition party said.

 

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Women’s organisations in North conduct protests demanding justice for Ilashini

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A section of those engaged in Jaffna protests

 

By Dinasena Ratugamage

Women’s organisations in the North yesterday held a number of demonstrations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna against the death of J. Ilashini, the 16 -year-old girl who died while working at SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence.

The protesters urged authorities to ensure that investigations into the death are conducted in a transparent manner. The family of the victim should be compensated and those guilty punished, they said.

Representatives of the organisations said that if justice was not done, they would hold a massive demonstration in Tarapuram, Mannar, which Bathiudeen represents in Parliament.

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Dancer lodges complaint with police over FB post 

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Police headquarters yesterday (23) said that dancer Anusha Damayanthi had lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over a Facebook post alleging that she was running a brothel.

Police headquarters said that Damayanthi, while denying the accusation, had also brought to the CID’s notice that a minister was being accused of lambasting the Walana anti-crime strike force for carrying out the raid. Police said that an investigation was underway.

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