Raped! And Now Facing A Revenge Attack
By Nirmala Kannangara
When the Chairman of the Akuressa Pradeshiya Sabha, S. L. Sunil was granted bail by the Matara Magistrate in a case where he is accused of repeatedly molesting an underage girl of 14 years, fears for the safety of the victim were voiced.
Human rights activists say that it would be very easy for Sunil’s underworld thugs to take revenge against the girl as well as those who worked for his arrest.
“Although he has now been bailed out and the bail conditions have clearly stated that he would once again be put behind bars if he resorts to violence and threatens those who gave evidence against him, the underworld thugs connected to him could harm the lives of anyone who has gone against the suspect,” Matara Bar Association sources on condition of anonymity said. According to the sources, although the girl is now safe at an undisclosed location, there are attempts by interested parties to see that she is handed her over to her mother. “As long as she is safe, no one can threaten her and stop her from giving evidence against her rapists. Since her mother too was having an affair with the alleged suspect, we believe that she will be forced not to give evidence against the suspect if she is handed over to her mother,” the sources said.
According to the sources, this girl had been first raped by a caretaker of an agriculture center in Akuressa.
“Once this caretaker had promised to pluck ‘rambutan’ for her while she was on her way home after school. That was the first incident of rape and because of the threats by the caretaker, she had gone to his office every afternoon. He had then allowed one of his friends who was a barber to rape her. As the girl’s brother had been suspicious about his sister’s daily visits to the caretaker’s room, he had informed the police. When the caretaker and the barber was arrested for child molestation, it was revealed that PS Chairman S. L. Sunil too had raped her on many occasions,” claimed the sources.
The sources say that it was later revealed that the girl’s mother had not objected to Sunil visiting the girl daily, since she (mother) had been having an affair with him.
“She was working on one of the estates owned by the suspect. Once he has given the mother a lift in his vehicle and had raped her on that occasion. From then onwards, he has been having an affair with the mother although she did not know that he (Sunil) had raped her daughter as well on many occasions,” said the soures.
It was the Children and Women Bureau of the Matara police that recorded a statement by the girl to confirm that the PS Chairman too was involved in raping her.
“When this came to light, an officer of the Children and Women Bureau of the Matara Police took a statement from the girl to verify the allegations. No sooner it was proved plans were drawn up to arrest the suspect who was absconding. He was arrested by the Children and Women Bureau of the Matara Police on July 4,” the sources said.
According to them, the suspect had taken the girl to a guest house he owns promising to buy her a pair of shoes.
“Having been promised a pair of shoes, she was taken to one of his guest houses in Akuressa and raped by him. He was joined by one of his cousin brothers,” added the sources.
Sunil was bailed out on strict bail conditions on a cash bail of Rs. 5, 000 with four sureties of Rs. 2.5 million each by the Matara Chief Magistrate Udesh Ranatunge. “Although he was given bail on September 10, he was bailed out only on September 13 giving time to finalize the strict bail conditions. According to the bail conditions the suspect has been barred from leaving the Akuressa Police Division, his passport has been impounded, and he has to report to the Matara police every Sunday,” the sources said.
They further said that they had come to know that Sunil has a list of names of people who worked against him when he was arrested. “This is dangerous. Sunil can give orders to his thugs to act severely against those who were hostile towards him during his time in remand prison. Even the lawyers are scared to appear on behalf of the aggrieved party as there were many instances where unidentified people have gathered information about those who have worked against the PS Chairman,” they said. The sources added that this is only one example where a government politician has acted with impunity disregarding the Rule of Law. “This year alone legal action has been initiated against 42 politicians, most of them from the ruling party, for their involvement in various crimes,” they said.