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The shrine room at PTK hospital - July 2011

The second great set piece of both the Darusman Panel Report and Gordon Weiss’s book is the alleged attact on Puthukkudiyirippu Hospital. The Report begins by claiming in Para 90 that ‘PTK hospital was the only permanent hospital left in the Vanni, and its neutrality was recognized by the Government and the LTTE… More than 100 new patients were arriving each day, many from the NFZ. Many had severe or life-threatening injuries caused by artillery fire or burns.40 The casualties, many of them babies, young children and the elderly, were packed in every conceivable space – on beds, under tables, in hallways and outside in the driveway’. It is claimed that many photographs of this were relayed both to UN Headquarters and to the Government.

The Report, in claiming that ‘between 29 January and 4 February, PTK hospital was hit every day by MBRLs and other artillery, taking at least nine direct hits’, declares baldly in a footnote that ‘Previously, PTK hospital had been shelled on 12 Jan. 2009’. This is a much larger claim than that made by Tamilnet on the 13th of January that one person was killed when the ‘hospital premises and its environs came under artillery fire’. Two days earlier it had been claimed that ‘Artillery shells exploded near Puthukkudiyirippu hospital’. This gives a very different picture, of possible collateral damage, in contrast to the efforts of the Panel to substantiate its dogmatic assertion that ‘The Government systematically shelled hospitals on the frontlines’. Read the rest of this entry »

Rajiva Wijesinha

July 2011
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