Suspects involved in criminal acts since 2010
The spate of protest demonstrations, hartals and also incidents of violence in the entire Northern province and some areas of the Eastern province that sparked off following the abduction, gang-rape and murder of a teenage school girl Sivaloganathan Vidhya on May 13 in Punguduthivu, a Northern offshore island near Jaffna, is abating but many shocking revelations are now unfolding in relation to this horrendous incident and the consequent protests, reports say.
While on her way to school the 18- year old girl was abducted by persons in hiding and taken to a nearby haunted house in the sparsely populated and mostly woods and shrub area and the girl was tortured and gang-raped repeatedly after fastening her hands behind her back by the three abductors who are brothers of the same family.
Later that day they invited their other relatives, youngsters and a middle aged man, in the neighbouring village to come immediately to ‘enjoy’ their share of the savagery.
The body of the girl, who was savagely gang-raped and killed, was found in the abandoned house the following day with her raised hands and legs tied to a tree.
Three suspects were arrested on the evening of May 14 and five more suspects were arrested on May 17 on the basis of information provided the three suspects.
A ninth suspect , Rasalingam Sasikumar, who is an expatriate in Switzerland and on a short visit to his native village Punmgudutivu was admitted to the Jaffna hospital due to injuries sustained in an attack on him by the public but he managed to escape to Colombo with the help of certain persons with political influence, according to reports.
He was arrested in a lodge at Station Road, Wellawatte during lean hours of Wednesday, May 20, while preparing to flee to Switzerland.
The CID which has now taken over the case is inquiring into all aspects of his escape, including the persons who helped him in his escape effort and tried to protect him , the report say.
|State Minister for Child Affairs Rosy Senanayake.
Pic: Chinthaka Kumarasinghe
|NCPA Chairman Natasha Balendra
Pic: Senthil Vilavar Thevathasan
The Wellawatte police who arrested him later handed him over to the special CID team inquiring into the case.
All suspects who were produced in Court have been remanded until June 1. Elucidating the cruel and maniac nature of this suspect it has been reported that he video filmed while the girl was being gang-raped.
In his evidence to the police he has said that he and the others were consuming liquor on the morning of May 13 when they received a call from the others who had abducted the girl to come immediately to a venue where there was a girl for them to have sex.
When they went they found the three persons in the act of raping her. But they filed suit because they were drunk, according to his statement to the police.
The person who called them was a person who had served a jail term on a theft case and it was the deceased girl’s mother who had informed the police.
It was possible that the abduction and rape was committed as an act of revenge, he had told the police.
The group of persons has been involved in anti-social acts, street violence and thefts since the year 2010.
They rob, drink and fight with youths in the neighbourhood , people told the police. They have also been abusing and threatening women.
Sasikumar’s elder brother who is also in Switzerland comes to Pungudutivu on short visits and every time he came he spent lavishly and treated them to liquor parties, they had told the police.
Every time any of them was arrested by the police for involvement in brawls, Sasi’s brother spent money to get them released and a group of thugs were operating under the leadership of Sasi’s brother and they had strong political influence, the people had told.
For failing to bring under control the spreading protests and violence, several senior police office in the Jaffna region have been transferred with immediate effect from May 15.
The SSP, SP, ASP of the Jaffna division and Hd.Qtrs of Jaffna and Kayts division have been transferred.
The Jaffna Magistrate remanded 130 suspects who were arrested for unlawful protest, damaging public property and assaulting police officers near the Jaffna Magistrates Court complex. The Jaffna Magistrate’s Court on May 21 remanded the 130 persons till early June. The suspects were produced before the Court in three batches and remanded separately until June 1, 3 and 4.
They were arrested on May 20 when a large group staged a protest outside the Jaffna Court demanding the death penalty for the nine suspects arrested over the gang rape and murder of a schoolgirl in Pungudutivu. Five policemen were injured and buildings and vehicles were damaged during the protest.
While the CID and the defence authorities are conducting investigations and inquiries to find out the reasons and the background behind the incendiary nature of the wide-spread protests and the related political leaders representing the Tamils have accused rival parties of causing mayhem and unrest for their political gains, reports say.
The failure of law enforcement authorities to penalize criminals without delay is the main reason for the situation to aggravate accused the State Minister for Child Affairs Rosy Senanayake condemning the raping and killing of the teenage girl.
If the society does not support a child to grow up peacefully and enjoy childhood it shows how grave social degradation is, she added.
The Chairman of the National Child Protection Authority Natasha Balendra said that they have been demanding for a special crime division to investigate crimes against children and women to operate under a Deputy Inspector General. The Unit needs to be backed with police officers with specialised training to handle criminal cases against children and women.
“And the officers of the unit need to be free from the usual transferring process of the police since this section needs that specialised training. If are transferred a fresh batch needs to be trained,” she pointed out.
From 2009 to 2012 there have been 32,259 cases of grave and minor offenses against children were reported to the Police. The number of offenses against women were 39,604, according to Balendra.
“And in 2013 there were 2119 cases against women with six cases on average per day, she added. From 2012 to 2014 the number of cases increased by 20%.
“Majortiy of the crimes against women and children, specially the girl child do not get reported. They are afraid to come forward,” the Minister said. There are laws and technology to detect these culprits and the public must assist officers by reporting these cases to the police, he added.
“Just like the FCID we need a special unit to investigate crimes against children and women,” said Minister Senanayake.Even though there is a Women’s and Children’s desk at each police station certain Police officers do not have a table and chair to work. It is in this backdrop we urge the Police Department to establish a special investigating unit,” Minister Senanayake emphasised. The state Minister
along with the National Child Protection Authority plans to discuss the quick implementation of the proposal with Ministries of Justice and Law and Order.
Children Protection (Judicial) Bill will be enacted soon, Minister Senanayake said.
In addition to the changes in the law and order the NCPA urges the need of establishing a national child protection policy soon. The NCPA was established by the parliament of Sri Lanka (under Act No.50 in1998) to spearhead the prevention of child abuse as well as the protection and treatment of children who are victims of abuse. The organisation also regularly co-ordinates and monitors action against all forms of child abuse in the country.
BASL condemns attack on court:
Urges perpetrators to be brought to justice
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), condemning the incident where the Jaffna court premises came under attack last week, calls upon the Attorney General and the other law enforcement authorities including the Inspector General of Police to bring the perpetrators to Justice.
In the statement issued late last week the BASL “expresses its strong condemnation and abhorrence of the incident.”
The release further states , “Furthermore, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka calls on the authorities to provide security to Court premises to protect the dignity of the holders of judicial office and of the judicial system.The Bar Association of Sri Lanka affirms that the honour, dignity and security of the Court and Court premises are critical for ensuring the proper functioning of a democracy and the upholding of the Rule of Law.