Padeniya’s company tells a tale
In journalism it is an axiom that a picture tells a thousand words. This truism was brought home starkly by the front page picture captions depicted in almost all daily newspapers yesterday showing GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya brushing shoulders with stalwarts of the Joint Opposition outside the Supreme Court premises where a Contempt case was being heard against the God Father of government doctors. In the picture with Padeniya was a Buddhist monk, notorious for his rabid nationalism and visceral hatred towards the minority community and an avowed loyalist of Mahinda Rajapaksa who even went to the extent of conferring him high government office when the latter was President. Among the others in the picture were a learned medical Professor, known for his rationalist views and who is often in the news, but barely concealing where his loyalties really lay. (The intellectual referred to and on whom TW had great respect has become yet another GLP)
This is not the only occasion where Padeniya was seen in such company. He was pictured a few weeks ago at the launch of a book, said to have been authored by Wimal Weerawansa during the period the latter was behind bars, occupying the front row with the JO front liners. With such glaring evidence only a nincompoop will believe that the GMOA is an apolitical body and detached from party politics, as often claimed by Padeniya and his minions and that it was not carrying out a political contract for Mahinda Rajapaksa, their former benefactor.
Cartoon added by TW
Padeniya and his ilk of the GMOA are entitled to their political views and the right to support any political party or Opposition group. But they cannot hold the public to ransom by playing political games in their bid to bring back to power vanquished political leaders through whose largesse they benefited in the past. It is against the Hippocratic Oath nay immoral. It goes against the very tenets of the medical profession which is looked up to with much regard and respect by the general public. It behoves the doctors to give their first preference to the care of the patients, if they are not to lose the respect of the general public who funded their education. But what do we see? The GMOA holding media conferences, almost on a daily basis, threatening strikes and disruption of the medical services. All because of one private medical institution when there is another operating on the same lines, with not a murmur of protest from the doctors. All this no doubt will reinforce public belief that the doctors are bent on promoting their vested interests of a political nature.
Padeniya has already displayed his colours in this regard. Addressing a meeting, amidst a doctors’ strike, he not only castigated the government in very uncomplimentary terms but also singled out two government Ministers for a vituperative outburst. He got so carried away with his rhetoric that his diatribe extended to the country’s courts of law, which has now landed him in trouble.
The GMOA once again staged a 24 hour token strike on Monday throwing patients into severe hardship, for reasons other than SAITM, their main bone of contention, though this too was in the package but not in the order of merit. One of the reasons given for the strike was the ‘police brutality’ inflicted on medical students protesting against SAITM. The solidarity expressed thus with the medical students no doubt is a craftily thought out strategy to engage them and others in the planned protests earmarked by the doctors in the near future on matters nothing to to do with the medical profession. The strike initially slated for a short duration was suddenly extended to 24 hours at the eleventh hour, putting patients, who would have come to seek treatment even during those limited hours, into great hardship. This, from an organisation which claims that their raison d’etre for the anti-SAITM campaign was purely in the interest of the patients, to ensure they receive quality medical treatment. But this altruistic feelings were nowhere to be seen on Monday given the fact that as much as 600 operations were not performed on that day and hapless patients who reported for their Clinic Day milling around hospital premises with no succour coming their way.
The GMOA spokesmen addressing a media briefing also stated that the work stoppage was also to protest against plans to arrest their friend, guide and philosopher Dr. Padeniya, a reference to the Contempt case now being heard against him for insulting the courts. Padeniya is an ordinary citizen of this country and is subject to the law like any other citizen. He cannot be above the law merely because he is a doctor and the President of the GMOA. Doctors, professionals, Buddhist monks and even a member of the Anglican Church were made to suffer for their crimes and felons in the past. Padeniya cannot be an exception and the sooner the GMOA members come to terms with this reality the better they would be prepared to accept the court verdict with equanimity if and when the guillotine falls.