BY W. K. PRASAD MANJU
Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran says that certain people are spreading rumours that she helped the main suspect in Vithya’s rape and murder case get released from police custody.”I strongly reject that accusation. The people of Jaffna know that I will never do such a thing,” she said in an interview.
Following are some excerpts of it:
?: How is the situation in Jaffna at present.
A: There was a tense situation recently. This situation arose due to the murder of Vithya and the protests that were launched against it. Now the people have calmed down.
?: If the Police had acted to take into custody the suspects connected with this murder, why did people take to the streets and protest.
A: It is natural for residents of the area to get worked-up, once a student has been abducted, subject to gang rape and killed. It will happen, not only in Jaffna but at any other place. When a complaint was lodged initially, the way the Police reacted was not acceptable.
?: Which is the Police Station? What was the reason for that to happen.
A: Kayts Police Station. It was Vithya’s mother and brother who had gone to the Police to complain that she had not returned home. She was a young girl of 18 years. A certain officer had said that, the girl would have eloped with some boy, at the time the complaint was taken down in writing.
He had also said that the girl will return home the following morning. The dead body of Vithya who was captured by these people on the 14th was discovered on Friday 15, about a kilometre away from Vithya’s home, where this incident had occurred.
?: What time did Vithya’s mother and brother lodge the complaint.
A: The distance from Vithya’s home to the Kayts Police Station is 28 kilometres. These people have to travel a difficult journey. Vithya had left the house at 7:30 in the morning on Thursday 14. It was 10 minutes after that, that these persons had captured Vithya. When she did not return home even by 3:00 in the evening, Vithya’s mother and brother had gone to the Punkudithivu School to look for her. It was said that Vithya had not attended school. They searched for her all over and then complained to the Kayts Police. Then the time would have been about 6:00 in the evening on the 14th. Police did not take immediate action. When Vithya’s relations arrived home after lodging the complaint the time had been past 11:00 p.m.
?: When were Vithya’s mother and relatives informed about Vithya’s dead body.
A: The surrounding area was searched on the night of the 14th as well. Then a search was conducted from dawn on the 15th. The dog at Vithya’s house also accompanied the villagers. The dog found a shoe belonging to Vithya, first. Then whilst searching they found Vithya’s body at a lonely spot. Vithya’s mother and the relatives of the family identified the body on the 15th morning. When the Kuruhattuwan Police arrived at the scene the time was 9:00 in the morning. The Kayts Police arrived at about 10:00 a.m.
?: Are there any Tamil Police officers in the Kayts Police.
A: There are Tamils. I do not know whether there were Tamil officers at the time the complaint was made.
But I will find out whether they were there or not.
?: Who said that Vithya the student would have eloped with someone? Has that Police officer been identified.
A: It was said that it was a member of the Police.
It is not possible to say exactly whether it was the person who wrote down the complaint or someone who had been there at that moment. But that will be looked into too.
?: What had Vithya’s mother said subsequent to receiving such a response from the Police.
A: My daughter is not that type of a person. She does not have a boyfriend. She does not talk on the telephone. She is very good in her studies. She returns home and studies. Vithya’s mother had told the people that she knew her daughter better than them. There are Tamil Police officers in the Crimes Division of the Kayts Police.
?: Where were you when this incident occurred.
A: In Colombo.
?: How can you describe incidents in Jaffna in such detail, when you were in Colombo.
A: I stay in Colombo as well as in Jaffna. Even though I am in Colombo I am aware of everything that happens in Jaffna. The reason is that I am a politician who is with the people always. My husband, Minister T. Maheshwaran was also always with the people. Therefore, the people report to me, proper information on any incident that takes place. Vithya who stayed in Vellan-Punkuduthivu has many relations and neighbours living in Wellawatte, Colpetty and Wattala. They too speak to me often about this incident. Even the traders in Pettah had focused much attention on this incident. I received information from them as well.
?: Were the suspects apprehended promptly or not.
A: Three suspects were arrested by Saturday.
?: Was it the Police who caught them or the residents in the area.
A: I am not sure of that. But at the time the suspects had been caught and there had been a clash between the Police and the residents of the area.
?: What was your delay in getting back to your electorate in Jaffna.
A: I was in Colombo on work. But I was frequently in contact with Jaffna by telephone. When I got to know that the clash was aggravating. I rushed to Jaffna. The students from the schools were holding a peaceful protest.
?: How many suspects had been taken into custody by then.
A: At present 10 have been arrested. Villagers suspect two more. Investigations have been launched in connection with these two as well.
?: Isn’t there powerful accusations against you as well, that you were involved in getting the chief suspect released.
A: Certain people spread such rumours to obtain various political gains. But I strongly reject that accusation. The people of Jaffna know that I will never do such a thing.
?: Do you know the exact place where this clash occurred.
A: Yes, Koorikattuwaan area. There is only a small Police check point there.
?: What did you do subsequent to going there.
A: I told the people that their anger was justified but that they should not engage in clashes. There were more suspects to be arrested, therefore, to assist the police in arresting these suspects.
?: When you arrived at the Koorikattuwan Check Point, had the five suspects been taken away by boat or not.
A: No, the five suspects were still there.
?: Had they been injured due to assaults.
A: Yes, they were injured. But, because of the Police their lives were out of danger. I told them that these people were very angry. If such a thing had happened to a daughter of theirs, I asked them what sort of emotions they would have felt. Then the Police Officers who were there made arrangements to take the suspects to the Kayts Police Station by boat.
?: It was at this moment that another suspect was taken into custody, wasn’t that so.
A: We heard the news that another suspect had been caught at the Welana junction. I went there. There also people were crowding around. I asked the suspect who he was and from he came. He said he was a resident of Switzerland. He said that a brother of his was connected to this incident.
The villagers started attacking the suspect. They attacked him left, right and centre. I informed the Koorikattuwan and Kayts Police by phone. I called 119 but no one came. A group of relatives of the suspect came and took him away with the greatest difficulty.
?: Why did you leave that place.
A: Only my two security guards and I were there. If the Police was not going to arrive and the people were asked not to assault the suspect, they did not listen because they were so angry, so what else could I do? If the suspect was killed then, I too would have had to go to Courts. If the Senior Inspector General of Police in charge of the North had provided proper instructions, the Police would have arrived.
However, since instructions were not received the Police did not come.
?: What happened to that suspect, after that.
A: The suspect’s wife and relatives who had arrived in a bus had taken him away. Even though the people assaulted him inhumanely, he had not made any statement. He had been as if he was under the influence of ganja and was befuddled.Anyhow this suspect had been at the Jaffna Police Station on the 18th. The suspect’s wife and children had arrived at the Police Station. Then we heard that he had been hospitalized. When I was in Parliament on Tuesday the 19th, I received a message from Jaffna that this particular suspect had come to Wellawatte.
?: How could a suspect who was at the Jaffna Police Station be in Wellawatte the following day.
A: The suspect would have arrived in Wellawatte with the cooperation of the Police. Anyhow, this suspect had arrived in Wellawatte that night. Only the Police know how he came. Without the assistance of the Police the suspect could not have arrived in Wellawatte.
?: So, who was the person who arrived at the Police Station with this suspect.
A: I will not mention his name. He is very close to the Police. When the residents of Punkudithivu heard that the suspect had fled to Wellawatte, the person who had come to take the suspect away had been detained. The Senior Inspector General of Police including Police Officers arrived at this place and tried to get this person released and to bring about conciliation.
The residents of the area said this person would be released only if the suspect is handed over to the Police. Only then did we become aware of the fact that the suspect was at the address, No. 27, Station Road, Wellawatte. The Police said that even though the suspect was in Wellawatte, without an Order he could not be taken into custody. Then former Minister late Maheshwaran’s younger brother handed over a letter to the Wellawatte Police stating that he had doubts about this suspect and that he too is involved in the murder incident. Only then the suspect who was hiding in a hotel in Wellawatte was taken into custody.
?: Do you approve of people stoning the Court and attacking the Police.
A: The people held a peaceful protest. But certain people who have political agendas and some who had been involved in violent activities previously, behaved in a violent manner. Those who raised their voice on behalf of Vithya did not behave in a violent manner.
?: Did this sort of thing take place because the Army was removed from Jaffna.
A: No, the Police remain in the Police. The Army was outside. Now the Army are in camps. The Police are outside. Therefore, there is more peace than before. There is reconciliation.
Politicians of the South are saying that due to the violence that occurred in Jaffna, the LTTE is raising its head again. That is unlikely. The Tigers are not rising again.
Colombo Law Faculty Dean V.T Thamilmaran said, the Police are responsible to probe and place the truth before people; how one of the rape
The latest gruesome rape and murder of this young girl has indeed shocked our nation. This horrible crime MUST be avenged for its own sake and also for the security of our people. Those responsible have no right to live till the end of their days eating and living at our expense in prison serving life terms; believe me “I was the Chairman of a Prison inspection committee, these despicable scoundrels who have been sentenced to death for murder but not been hanged lead a good life inside” a life they have no right to live having taken the life or lives of others
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