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The fury of a love unrequited


From hope to despair - no one can believe 
that it is Roshani who is in the coffin

By Ranee Mohamed

One week had elapsed, but the tears in the eyes of the residents of the unspoilt little town of Makowita, had not dried.

As women spat as they passed the ramshackle house in which the suspect lived, the memories of how they thronged there, crying out both in protest and agony came to mind.

It was a time when Makowita in Jaela sprung to the limelight for a murder most foul, of a young girl who was just beginning to experience the wonder of youth.

It was at about 6 a.m. on Friday, January 18, when Roshani Surangika (23) walked down a bylane close to this house, a walk that led to her final destination. For the 25 year old suspect, living in the house had followed her once again, as he did for the past several months.

Looking forward to the weekend

Clad in a saree, Roshani Surangika had been happy and carefree that Friday, for she had commented to her parents that it was the last day of the week and hence was looking forward to some well earned rest during the weekend.

But it was on the weekend that she was prepared to be laid to rest, as her body was pulled out of the watery grave and her lifeless body wiped off all the muck from the toilet pit.

This was what happened to the innocent eldest child of Viviene Gunasekera and Navin Wickremasinghe, whom they did not even put down on the floor when she was a baby. 

As officers of the Gampaha police continued their investigations, they awaited the test reports Friday to ascertain whether Roshani Surangika, whose body was without any underwear, had been raped by the suspect. 

Angry villagers continued to mourn the tragedy that had befallen a young woman whom they all commented 'looked like an angel.'

In a dark hole

But the last moments of Roshani Surangika were spent in a dark hole where angels would never dwell. Her body was found several hours after her death in a toilet pit behind a house situated opposite a temple in Makowita, Jaela.

"We were able to arrest the suspect the same evening, but it took him a whole night to tell us the details of the gruesome act," said Chief Inspector Prabath Dayananda when contacted by The Sunday Leader.

The 25 year old suspect had reportedly told police that he had repeatedly professed his love for Roshani but had been rebufffed and scoffed at by her. "I tried to win her love for several months," the accused had reportedly told police.

"On January 18th too, I waited for her as she made her way to work around 6 a.m. I stopped her and I told her that I love her and suggested that we get together and go somewhere to talk about it. But she not only turned me down but hit me with her slipper," the suspect had told police.

The suspect had then gone on to elaborate to police that he had then hit the young girl and dragged her along the small bylane to the rear of his house. After assaulting her, the suspect had reportedly told police that he had thereafter thrown her into the toilet pit.

Rape suspected

As Roshani's body was without any undergarments police are also suspecting rape.

The suspect in his statement also says that he had given the mobile phone and a gold necklace which was in the possession of Roshani to another female. Police have also arrested another female with whom the suspect is believed to be romantically linked.  

Meanwhile a heart broken Viviene Gunasekera who is the mother of this young girl said that her eldest daughter was the apple of her eye. "She was an obedient girl who had many dreams. She always told me that she will get married when she was 28 years of age and that too to a person of my choice. We are innocent people who have not harmed anyone. Why did this happen to my child?" queried this mother in tears.

"I have brought up my three children with great difficulty," she cried and begged that justice be meted out to the suspect. "Don't let this be another forgotten case. The man who killed my child should not be let free for want of evidence," begged the mother in tears.

Always with a smile

Meanwhile the residents of Makowita went on to describe the beauty of Roshani and her winning ways. "It was recently that she started working at a bank. She had many plans. Every morning she made her way to the bank, and she never failed to give a smile," they recalled.

Roshani's father, Navin Wickremasinghe is paralysed.  However he is moved to the depths of despair with the loss of his eldest daughter who he said is the light of his life.

"On January 18, I received a telephone call from the bank at about 9 a.m. asking me whether my daughter had left home for work. I told them that she left home early in the morning, for that day too, she worshipped me and her father and left for work. I was so worried when I received this call from the bank. I was restless, and in a few minutes I called them back again and asked them whether my beloved daughter had come to work and they replied in the negative," recalled Roshani Surangika's mother, Viviene Gunasekera.

Frantic search

Thereafter the grief-stricken mother had rushed to the National Hospital in Colombo and checked in the OPD and in the Accident Service to see whether her daughter had been admitted to hospital. Unknown to her, her child was already in a murky watery grave in a toilet pit back home in Makowita.

"We looked all over Colombo but I did not find my daughter. Thereafter I received information that my daughter has been murdered and was lying in a toilet pit. It was the most agonising day of my life," recalled Roshani's mother Viviene. "When I rushed there I saw my daughter in the toilet pit, she was wearing the same saree she wore that morning..... when she left the house, when she kissed me and when she worshipped me...." said the mother crying uncontrollably.

Meanwhile the younger sister of Roshani Surangika who is undergoing training at the Welisara Navy Camp to become a woman sailor said that she cannot bear the death of her sister. "My sister said that it was her dream to see me in navy uniform. She promised me that she will come on the day I am passing out just to see me in my uniform," said sister Kaushalya Priyadarshini.

Tip off

"I cannot live without my sister," cried Kaushalya.

Meanwhile, the accused, a labourer has said that it had all begun with a verbal onslaught. He had reportedly told police that he had caught her by the neck and dragged her down a small lane that led to his house.

However police believe that he has not given them the complete picture.

Police acting on a tip off was able to track down the suspect that same evening. Police are also questioning an individual who claims to have been a witness to this incident.

"I had many hopes and dreams for my beautiful daughter, but they were all snatched away by one man on Friday morning. Why did he have to kill my child who I have struggled to bring up? How could he do this to her if he loved her?" her mother continues to cry in anguish.

Chief Inspector Prabath Dayananda and Crimes OIC IP Hettiarachchi instructed by SSP Hector Dharmasiri and ASP Edirisuriya are continuing investigations into the murder.


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