Thirteen Year Old Girl Raped By 13 Men
By Niranjala Ariyawansa
At the tender age of 13 years she left her home at Hakmana and came to Tangalle to escape from an uncle who repeatedly raped her. Not only did he rape her but also threatened her that she will be killed if she informed her parents about his activities. He also forced her to leave home because he feared that he would be exposed. She may have ultimately decided to leave her home as she was threatened with death and she wanted to escape from this harrowing experience. But this was only the beginning of a more pathetic story.
On June 3, she was inTangalle, which is 25 kilometers away from her home. By this time this girl who had lived with her parents through fear of threats from her uncle who had raped her ran away from home and overnight became a young girl loitering in an unknown city. To all those who showed her any sympathy, her request has been to find her some sort of employment. As a result they had taken her to Ruwan Textiles, the largest textile shop in Tangalle. There was a notice at the front indicating that Sales Girls are required. But she did not know that to escape from the storm she was walking into a vast ocean.
45 year old Harshana was the owner of Ruwan Textiles. He agreed to give employment to this abandoned girl. Next day was Poson Poya and Harshana with a number of other business friends was making preparations to have an Ice Cream Dansala.
After they finished the Dansala on June 5, they organized a party at Namal Guest House & Restaurant in Medilla which is located about 1km away from Tangalle town. At this party where most of the rich businessmen of Tangalle were present, this 13 year old girl became their victim.
This girl was sexually abused by seven men for three days at this hotel. The abusers were 45 year old Harshana – owner of Ruwan Textiles, owner of Nilupul Stores who is believed to be about 60 years – Chandana, the owner of Shehan Guest House - Dimuthu Muthukumarana, Coordinating Secretary to the Minister of Disaster Management - Pradeep, a retail shop owner, youngest son of Sampath, a fish seller, Anjana and Lalith. They had also taken her to other hotels in Tangalle where she was sexually assaulted by many. She has been transported to these places by Raja in his three wheeler.
After six days of inhuman sexual abuse and assault by these men, she has been handed over to the Tangalle Police by a person from Rekawa. When he was about to leave, the girl had told the Police that he is the last person who abused her. After that he has revealed the names of others. Within the last three weeks 9 out of 13 men who were responsible for this crime has surrendered to the Tangalle police.
First three has surrendered to the Police through Krishantha Punchihewa, a lawyer in Tangalle. Later the other suspects, except the youngest son of Sampath, have also surrendered to the police through the same lawyer. Altogether 9 persons have been produced in court and remanded. Four suspects are still in hiding.
The girls who is in a critical condition is receiving medical care under the National Child Protection Authority and with the consent of her parents.
Our attempts to get more information from Mr. Kalinga Silva, OIC of Tangalle Police station was not successful. Instead we spoke to C. Wedisinghe, Superintendent of Police in charge of Hambantota. He directed us to Mr. Jayalath Balagalle, ASP Mr. Balagalle informed us that he does not know anything about this and directed us to Mr. Nandana Wijeratna, ASP in charge of this investigation. When we spoke to Nandana Wijeratna he stated that he is unable to give any information and directed us to the PoliceSpokesman.
However an officer at Tangalle police, who did not want to be named, told us that since Tangalle is the hometown of President Mahinda Rajapaksa it has been prohibited to release any information as it may be a slur on the president.
The United Front member of the Tangalle Pradeshiya Saba, who did not want to be named told us since all the remanded suspects are rich businessmen in Tangalle the whole incident will be swept under the carpet. Further, since the girl is from another area nobody is taking any initiative to organize a protest. People at Tangalle also fear that they may have to face repercussions from these wealthy businessmen, should they do so.
According to the Pradeshiya Saba member, more than 13 had joined this seriese of sex abuse. However her uncle who raped her first is still at large with four more suspects.
“Police Must Immediately Arrest The Uncle Of This Child…” – Prof. Harendra Silva, Former Chairman, National Child Protection Authority
“This is the future of the country. Howmany such incidents happened at Tangalle? On the one hand we must educate our children, when such abuse takes place to inform the parents without feeling shy or go before the law enforcement authorities.
On the other hand there are vultures who are waiting to catch these children. Even by giving a minimumof 10 years imprisonment for child abuse has not reduced these incidents. Reason is the poor law enforcement. Those who indulge in these activities know that these could be swept under the carpet by the power of money or politics. You can even buy the police officers. These businessman from Tangalle also must be thinking like that. I want to request the judges not to grant them bail and to impose maximum punishment.
The Police must first of all arrest the uncle of this girl. We cannot allow any body to ruin this girls’s future. The schools and the society corner these children. But it is these criminals who should be cornered from society. We must give the maximum protection and education to these children.”