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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 82

Mystery of Anton Balasingham's death in his house

London 17 December, ( Was Balasingham's death a mercy killing? Speculative rumors about his death are going round in the circles of the Tamil Diaspora in the United Kingdom.

When Balasingham was on terminal care in his South London house, Macmillan nurses – specialists in cancer palliative care -- put him on an electric pump injecting morphine. This pump automatically administers regulated low dosages of morphine to make him comfortable. In addition to the nurses from Macmillan nursing service Balasingham was also taken care of by his wife, Adele, a trained nurse from Australia, as well as LTTE leader A. C. Santhan’s cousin, a qualified nurse.

When Balasingham was discharged from the hospital and taken home to spend his last days doctors who attended on him would have instructed the Macmillan nurses about the terminal treatment. In particular they would have prescribed 24 hour continuous low dosages of morphine according to his physical condition.

In the meantime, pro-Tiger media were carrying reports about Balasingham commenting from his sick bed when he was under heavy dosages of morphine.

TamilNet (November, 22) reported: "Commenting on his illness to TamilNet, Mr. Balasingham said that, 'it is an unfortunate personal tragedy. However, when compared to the vast ocean of the collective tragedy faced by my people, my illness is merely a pebble. I am deeply sad that I am crippled by this illness, unable to contribute anything substantial towards the alleviation of the immense suffering and oppression of my people.'"

According to medical experts it was highly unlikely for Balasingham, who was almost disoriented and was in a semi-comatose condition, to have even spoken to anyone on the telephone, let alone making a coherent statement.

Normally, palliative care amounts to a balancing act between the pain and the life. Morphine is administered to keep the dying patient comfortable.

Whenever Balasingham was in pain those nurses taking care of him would have had to consult the doctors to increase the dosages to keep the patient comfortable without feeling the pain.

After his death two theories are circulating on how he died: 1) considering the deteriorating condition and his increasing pains Balasingham requested an increased dose to terminate his life and 2) the dosage was increased by others who felt that mercy killing was a better alternative to his suffering. An increased dose of morphine blocks the respiratory centre causing swift death. According to medical sources, a death caused by overdose of morphine is undetectable in a postmortem.

Euthanasia or mercy killing is illegal in Britain. Considering his condition, even a post-mortem is unlikely unless requested by the next of kin. Accordingly, the cause of his death may not be known.

Tamils in the Diaspora related his painful death terminated by an overdose of morphine to the indifference he showed to the thousands of Tamils killed by his fallacious justifications. For instance, on 13 July 1989 when TULF leader A. Amirthalingham was shot and killed by the LTTE gunmen a Tamil lady from London telephoned to check with Balasingham, who was in Colombo, whether Amirthalingam was alive or not.

Balasingham, speaking from his room in the Hilton Hotel in Colombo, told the lady: "Thangacchi (Younger Sister) I haven’t heard about it. If Amirthalingham is killed it must be the work of the Tigers. If these bastards actually had killed Amirthalingham, I will leave these bastards and go back to London."

Later, the lady recalled that on the following day Balasingham denied vociferously to the media the allegation that Amirthalingham was killed by Tiger gunmen.

Similarly Balasingham justified thousands of LTTE killings.

Looking back on the death of Anton Balasingham, some leading Hindu Tamils have concluded privately that the karmic forces had returned to get even with Balasingham’s past of being an active partner in the killings of innocent Tamils.

- Asian Tribune -

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