World Vision Harassment of a Government Doctor in Sri Lanka
By Ira Mediwake
Buddhist village Trust for Sri Lanka in U.K.
Dr. Rakshita Weerakody is the Government Medical Officer in charge of the Wahalkada Government Rural Hospital in the Kebithigollewa Divisional Secretariat area of the Anuradhapura District. I represent the Buddhist Village Trust for Sri Lanka based in London. I visited Sri Lanka in January 2002 and observed the presence of World Vision in many parts of the country. I also received many reports from various sources regarding the unethical methods use by WV in many remote Sinhala Buddhist villages in the LTTE affected areas to recruit locals for their conversions surreptitiously and harass those who oppose them.
The information of the above medical officer who was actively harassed by WV reached me all the way in London before I left for Sri Lanka in May 2002. On my arrival I visited this doctor and had an initial interview to ascertain the truth of this information, which I had received. I also requested a written report from him. The important information submitted in this report are given in point form with a view to inform the Buddhist public, The Ministry In charge of Buddha Sasana Affairs, and any interested party who are monitoring such unethical evangelical Christian activities of NGO’s.
1. The very first encounter he had with WV was when the outgoing medical officer introduced him to the WV officer of the area Mr. Deepthi at Kahatagollewa on his way to Wahalkada to take over duties.
2. As his first priority he wanted to clean up the hospital compound which was over grown with shrub jungle. He invited various societies to organize groups for clearing the compound on a schedule. On the day region D6 was to take part many villagers marched into the hospital premises and informed him that they belong to an organization formed by WV and wanted to renovate the hospital and their ‘Boss’ would arrive shortly. Their Boss who was Mr. Deepthi arrived shortly and announced that he was in charge of all health a related problem in the area. The doctor who did not want to tolerate such arrogance asked Mr. Deepthi to leave the hospital premises. In an ensuing argument before leaving he informed the doctor that the other MOH/ DDHS have worked in collaboration with WV and invited the doctor to participate in WV clinics in return for a remuneration of Rs1500/= per clinic. The doctor refused to exchange his self respect or to neglect his official duties for a payment from VW. These incidences took place within the first week of his taking up duties. He therefore decided to find out more about this highhanded NGO.
3. Premasiri of D4 was the secretary of the YMBA in his region. WV promised him in April 2001 a training in computer operations and a job subsequently in exchange for a detailed clay model of the whole of Wahalkada. He complied with this request at the expense of his Buddhist activities. As a result the YMBA collapsed and Premasiri never received the computer education promised. Premasiri suggested the model may have been handed over to the LTTE.
4. Dayananda of D4 the treasurer of the Death Donation Society appealed to WV for a barbed wire fence around the DDS meeting hall. WV informed him of the “necessary cooperation” which meant that DDS should display the WV name board including their logo which is the star of Bethlehem that resembles a cross that was to be pained on the wall of the DDS hall. Dayananda disagreed and therefore the barbed wire fence was not given.
5. In December 2000/ January 2001 the preschool child of Sekara of D4 was reported have written a letter to the WV uncle and ended his letter with blessings of Jesus on the instructions of WV officials. The parents of the child refused to give any information fearing threats and loss of benefits from WV.
6. At the WV “Development Aid” meeting at D4 there were plans to take several young women on a trip without accompanying men folk. The men present objected and were promptly insulted as “Eunuchs” by WV officials. Most of the people present walked out. However some of the women who accepted the offer were “taken around”. Mr. Ananda of D4 reported this and has since forbidden the members of his family to have any connection with WV. Some women openly and flagrantly promote liaisons with WV “Sirs”.
7. Weerasiri of D6 one of the most pleasant capable organized young men in the whole of Wahalkada colony was the first to be appointed as a WV animator. But he and his fellow workers began to feel uneasy about some actions which they called “Unnatural incidents” such as sudden unannounced training trips to young women folk. When Weerasiri and others began to question in this regard females promptly replaced them.
8. Imalka 12 years of D4 the daughter of Dayananda mention above was appointed the President of the WV children’s Society. She hailed from a very conservative family but suddenly began to show visible signs of unnatural westernization.
9. Roshan the animator of D4 is a person convicted of defrauding the Farmer Organization to the tune of Rs.40000/= and who was in serious financial difficulties.
10. The animator of D5 Sriyananda is a person who has defrauded a Colombo soft drink company to a sum of Rs.200000/= and is hiding in Wahalkada in his fathers plot of land. Though he is not a resident of Wahalkada he arrived one day to actively promote a church in Wahalkada in the name of religious equality.
11. Neluka Ruwankumari the animator who replaced Weerasiri in D6 was divorced by her soldier husband due to unnecessary liaisons with the WV “Sirs” in the absence of the husband.
12. The Medical Officer in charge of Kebithigollawa Rural Hospital was artificially creating shortages of drugs by lapses in administrative functions such as not forwarding estimates thereby actively inviting WV to donate drugs to hospitals. She also participates with her staff in WV clinics during duty hours.
13. The MOH/DDHS Kebithigollawa takes home with him all tha drugs left over after each clinic he participates.
14. The Divisional Secretary Kebithigollawa allows WV to run its office in a building belonging to the Divisional Secretariat.
15. In May/June 2001 at a function at Kahatagollawa Government School WV has publicly denounced Buddhist clergy as not looking after the welfare of their devotees and that WV “is there to correct that”.
The above facts and the discussions he has had with the Chief Priest of Wahalkada left no doubt in his mind that he is faced with undercover Christian missionary activities in the most devastating form which he had upto then only read in newspapers.
WV has chosen Wahalkada as a prized target due to many reasons. Wahalkada is situated in a very isolated spot with absolutely minimal supervision by higher authorities. It has been a target for the LTTE .The population is entirely made up of settlers therefore no common bond or established traditions as in normal villages. It is easy for an organized organization to sew seeds of descent among the population.
He was informed that WV is in the Kebithigollawa Division for a 15 year programme and that they have targeted the Preschools as their primary object of their so called ‘development aid’ Any intelligent person can see through them but the only problem is that not all our brothers and sisters , officials of the government sector can resist bribes-direct, indirect, monitory or material.
There is no established code or in the law that a doctor cannot indulge in Buddhist activities. He was forced into this situation in a place where people were helpless and they almost worshipped the doctors. He did not want this opportunity to slip away without serving the Country Race and Religion. Using his position he systematically organized the young men to form new YMBA’s with new registrations,organized three Daham Pasalas on each in D4, D5, D6 and volunteers to teach. Also commenced rehabilitation of the D4, D6 temples with the help of village elders and took every opportunity to warn the people against the cunning manipulations of the WV.In the meantime he also continually collected information relating to WV and its misdeeds.
A whole dossier of information was collected but could not be factually corrobated due to the fact that people were threatened by the animators that their aid would be cut off if the supplied information to him. The following are the facts factually corroborated;
1. Neluka Ruwankumari the animator of D6 confessed to a friend Geetha Ranjini of D6 that the October 2001 meeting of the Development Committee took place in a church in Kurunegala.
2. Grama Niladari of D4 Muthbanda had in September 2001 proclaimed publicly that WV offered one lakh cash if he pushes for the establishment of a church in D4. he accepted the offer and justified in saying “who can kick an offer of one lakh”.
3. Geetha Rangini of D6 was present at the WV meeting held in D6 in August when the WV officials directly incited the women present to rebel against their men and refuse to wash pots and pans,refuse to tend to the children’s needs and break away from the confines of a homelife. There were no men present. When Geetha pointed out that the men work in the fields and their duty to look after the household she was mocked at.
4. Sexually suggestive remaks were made at each and every WV ”Development “ meetings. In addition at several meetings suddenly one or two WV officials would stand up and announce ”we have decided to test the knowledge of a few people on several practical points” and proceed to an unknown destination with two or three young female participants. These facts were divulged by Weerasiri of D6 as some of the things that happened during his short tenure as animator of D6.
5. In November 2001 a landmine explosion took the life of the Chief Priest of Siripura temple. A day prior to the incident Mr Somaratna of the AGA office received a call inquiring whether the said priest has died in a landmine explosion. Mr Somaratna identified the voice as that of WV official Indunil with whom he deals daily in the course of official business.
6. Periodic collections of Birth Certificates of preschool children and sessions of photographing them has taken place. Athe reason for such action is questionable.
7. There are so many misdeeds recorded, the most dangerous was the case of a six month old infant brought to him in a state of laboured breathing and blue all over after misdiagnosing and mistreating. This was a case for a specialist surgical unit.This was highlighted by him at a mass rally organized in November 2001 in D4. He publicly branded WV as an obscene organization and challenged them to come forward to prove him wrong. WV never came forward but they act behind the scene and get whom thwy have corrupted to create trouble. Several women have openly abused him in public questioning his right to fight WV. Some accused him of inciting riots. The Grama Niladari of D4 Muthbanda sought political help to have him transferred .
Sujatha Deepika, Monica and Sepalika all of D4 publicly announced that they would stop taking treatment from the Wahalkada Hospital and they would definitely become Christians.
In the meantime WV offered two rewards in secret;
A] Rs 5000.00 in cash to anybody who comes forward to to claim that he has made a mistake in the treatment.
B] Rs 5000/ in cash to any woman who comes forward to claim that he has secret liaison with her.
C]. The Kebithigollawa Hospital Medical Officer undertook to catch him out on the first count.
She instructed several women in Wahalkada to go for treatment from him anmd get the prescription written and without submitting to the dispensary to bring them to her. Two women Sujatha and Monica of D4 got caught attempting this. In order to protect himself he had to give instructions to his staff not to allow these two women into the hospital premises. In addition the doctor instructed his friends in Wahalkada to inform of any problems associated with the treatment given by the MOIC of Kebithigollawa. Before long a mother of an 8 year old came to him saying that her child is asleep without a break after taking private treatment from the said MOIC. The girl has been prescribed sleeping tablets three times a day. Apparently there is a lot more on this famous lady.
8. In December 2001 the animators of WV along with some disgruntled women complained to the MOH/DDHS and the Assistant Divisional Secretary of Kebithigollawa about him with some fanciful complains. The two worthy officials took the strongest of actions. They made a lightening journey to Wahalkada to inquire from the people about the misdeeds of the doctor of Wahalkada.They got earfuls from every man and woman they talked to. They echoed that they had the highest regard for the doctor and WV was a curse.
This was followed by a deliberate misleading complaint to the Provincial Director of Health Services by the WV officials that the doctor is obstructing their development activities. This official up to that time had completely ignored the doctors request to visit the hospital to see the shabby dilapidated condition and the faulty construction work of the new building that was coming up. As soon as WV made the complaint he made a dash to Wahalkada to catch him off guard. The doctor had gone to collect the hospital pay cheque.The official visited the hospital and commented to the workers what state power the doctor had to challenge WV. The doctor responded by getting a petition signed. by those who wanted him to stay. Over 300 of them we to hand over the petition to the worthy P.D. He has been disrespectful even to the Chief Priest at Wahalkada who led the protest. In December 2001 the P.D. sent him the seasons greetings with an attached conciliatory note.
9. Mr Nanayakkara took care of anti WV activities in D5 and Ven Dhammakusala with his towering personality took care of D1 and D2. They were the two pillars of strength on which the doctor built and sustained his anti WV campaingn..Mr Nanayakkara and the priest at D5 temple received numerous threats.During Nov-Dec 2001 they were continuously in and out of Police Station due to the harassment from the WV animators in D5.-Sriyananda, Kusumalatha,,a former Pradesiya member Kalu appu and a former convict John and a homeguard Suda among others. During this time due to constant mob threats on the temple it was put under guard by the Kebithigollawa HQI.The guards were WV sympathizers and pretend to sleep one night while crackers were thrown into the temple.
10. The agitations finally bore print when the Divisional Secretary was compelled to listen to the rising tide of voices from within the villages against the WV. In January 2002 he temporarily banned WV until the cause of resistence to WV is found. The doctor and his team of supporters then tried to show Wahalkada as an example to carry on the fight in other areas of Kebithigollawa Division. What followed was a tragedy. Mr Jayawardena from D5 received nominations from the UNP to contest for the Kebithigollawa Pradeshiya Sabha. He approached the doctor and Mr Nanayakkara to support him in return to ban WV from Wahalkada. They solicited their support to get the younger generation to vote for him. Mr Jayawardena won and assumed duties. One of his first actions was to kick them in their teeth by allowing WV back into Wahalkada. This amounted to such low treachery which resulted in total disarray. They had no answer to their loyal supporters. It became impossible to start again. The situation changed with WV now enjoying state patronage. Now the doctor was saddled with a half functioning understaffed Government medical Institution with hostile superior officers and a defeat in a struggle against a social evil and his dignity at stake.
11. WV rolls on gathering steam each passing day. They have now put a proposal to the Govi Sanvidanaya of D5 to build a so called multi-purpose building next to the temple. Mr Nanayakkara has vehemently opposed this and has collected many signatures to defeat the motion. But the Project Director Wahalkada settlement Mr Wasantha has actively conspired with WV to twist procedures and grant approval. At the moment it is in limbo as MR Wasantha has been transferred to Padaviya.. Mr Nanayakkara feels that the matter will have to be taken to courts in which case the doctor has pledged financial support.
12. The MOH/DDHS of Kebithigollawa conducted WV clinics for preschool children in the D5 temple without informing him while the doctor was conducting an antenatal clinic on his behalf at his hospital. This matter was reported to the new DPDHS/NCP.
He has been very sympathetic and a pillar of strength in dealing with the doctors clashes with the PDHS-NCP. In early September 2002 the MOH sent a mob of women and their menfolk to Wahalkada hospital having incited them saying that the doctor is responsible for not holding clinics. The following day an obscene poster 0ppeared all over Wahalkada against this doctor. This was the work of D4$ animator Roshan and his associates. Roshan was involved in another incident when WV organized a mob led by him to forcibly open the hospital midwife quarters to forcibly conduct clinincs in it . Police protection has been saught and the hospital closed down for a week. Roshan the leader of this mob has an added incentive to drive him away from Wahalkada. He is responsible for looting hospital goods He knows that the doctor is doing secret investigations. He also wants to bring WV into the repair and renovation work of the hospital. The doctor wants the repairs to be carried out according to proper procedures. The MOH/DDHS is a broker in arms with Roshan in this matter.
The desperation of WV activists to get him out of Wahalkada is clearly demonstrated by the fact that they use any public forum to request the MP’S and other politicians to transfer him. The politicians in the meantime are giving all sorts of excuses as they are unable to do so,
Today the doctor is faced with a deep dilemma. If he leaves Wahalkada it would be construed that the harassment was successful and his loyal associates would be subjected to the worst form of harassment.In view of what has taken place the DPDHS-NCP has requested the police to provide round the clock protection to the hospital which has not been complied with. The doctor has also given evidence at the Buddha Sasana Commission that the WV “Mustard seed Project” is being carried out in Wahalkada and the seed has sprouted. They have only to nurture the sprout carefully to harvest in about fourteen years time unless someone comes up with a sound committed plan to counter WV’s aggressive corrupted campaign.
It is clear to all of us how these vicious manipulative organizations try to break down the community and family structure. Indoctrinate children and parents.Destroy traditional Buddhist values .They also encourage and promote corruption among the villagers as well as those in the public services to achieve their goal. Targetting the pre-schools on a 15 year programme is a clever manipulative approach so that when they are 18 years of age they will come out as their perfect clay models.
This summary of events is an eye opener to what takes place in these poverty stricken helpless communities. Added to this are the local administrators and service providers who get lured into short term benefits for themselves.
The Sinhala Buddhists are faced with a problem and a menace that they cannot ignore any longer,The Politicians,Administrators,and the High Priests of power are all responsible for this situation either through neglect or through corruption to experience this situation which is accelerating in many rural areas
Lastly I would like to express our sincere appreciation on behalf of Buddhist village Trust to Dr Weerkody and all those who have worked hard in Wahalkada. Our thanks also go out to others to whom we will pledge our continued support to challenge this growing threat from Evangelism.
WV is only one of many such NGO’s operating in Sri Lanka today.