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Why prolong the suffering of Thaqif’s parents?

It was bad enough for the parents of 11-year-old Mohammad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi to suffer the loss of their child, on 26 April. Three weeks after his burial, they were notified that his body would be exhumed, so that the authorities could ascertain the cause of death from a second autopsy.

Their torment was increased, when they were then subjected to a  long, agonising wait for the post mortem results, despite being promised the outcome of the investigations, five weeks ago. Why the callous disregard for the parents’ grief and feelings?

Blood clots had developed in Thaqif’s legs after he had been beaten on the soles of his feet with a rubber hose. He was not given treatment, until his legs and right arm turned necrotic. The legs were the first to be amputated.

Before his right arm could be removed, as that too had turned necrotic, the child died. Then, those in authority appear to be going around like headless chickens, trying to find out the real cause of his death.

Thaqif’s body exhumed for a second post mortem

According to the Health Minister, Dr S. Subramaniam, the specialist doctors did not expect Thaqif to die. When Thaqif’s body was exhumed for the second post mortem, he said, “…we have the tentative diagnosis (from the first autopsy) but will not announce it. Let us wait for the result of the second autopsy, for the cause of death.”

He also said that specialist doctors had expressed surprise that Thaqif had died after his amputation, and that his death changed the angle of investigation.

If you recall, on 1 May Subramaniam had told reporters, “We cannot deny the possibility of other diseases ailing the child but, whatever it is, we will wait for the full report first.”

So, what are these “other diseases” that Subramaniam mentioned? Are the authorities setting the scene for some other sinister explanation?

What part of the first autopsy is Subramaniam withholding from the rakyat? It is now five weeks since the exhumation and second autopsy, so why are the authorities keeping mum? What is the problem? Why is there such a big delay?

Thaqif’s mother, Felda Wani Ahmad, was visibly upset when she told reporters that the family were getting anxious about the delay. She said that when Thaqif died, the family were told that a report would be issued, within one month.

She said, “We just want to know if he was sick. We want to know the cause of death,”; but instead, they were given notification of his exhumation.

The exhumation caused some anger. Despite having been notified about the court order for exhumation, they had not been told the specific time and date. According to Felda Wani Ahmad,, “… it was only when the villagers had gathered around his grave that we realised they were going to do it then…”

Subramaniam had announced, on 19 May, that the post mortem results would be known in a fortnight. It is now close to five weeks since the post mortem was done, and the family are still in the dark.

Why are both post mortem results withheld from the parents?

So, what is the matter? Is there a major discrepancy between the first and second results? Are the tests incomplete and will they have to be redone? Is there some other contributory factor that has a major bearing on the outcome? Why are Thaqif’s parents kept in the dark, and not informed of the progress?

Thaqif’s fate is of major concern, and the public has every right to know, so that lessons may be learnt, especially as many tahfiz schools are unregulated. We only get learn about the problems, after a tragic incident.

The warden denies beating the boy badly. The school denies any wrongdoing, and yet, a little boy has died, and stories are emerging about severe corporal punishments being meted out to the boys.

Perhaps, the authorities should take heed of the words of the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association’s (PPIM) legal bureau chairman, Hishamuddin Hashim, who demanded a copy of the autopsy report, to end all speculation about Thaqif’s death.

He said, “We also hope for transparency in this matter, and that there are no attempts to make a cover-up.”

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