News

30 statements recorded on 16-year-old girl’s death

  • Bank account of broker in Agarapathana probed

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Police have recorded a total of 30 statements with regard to the death of the 16-year-old girl who was allegedly working as a maid at Parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence in Colombo, said Police Media Spokesman Senior Deputy Inspector General (SDIG) of Police Ajith Rohana.

Speaking to the media yesterday (25), SDIG Rohana said that the suspects were produced before the Colombo JMO on 24 July. He also said that they would be detained and further questioned. Adding that matters revealed through the statements of suspects will be investigated further, SDIG Rohana said that the bank account of the suspect who had brought the victim to Bathiudeen’s house, is being investigated.

“It was revealed that he is maintaining an account in a bank in Agarapathana area, and some transactions have also been made,” he said.

According to SDIG Rohana, a statement has been recorded from a woman who is said to have worked at Bathiudeen’s house between 2015 and 2019, and it has been revealed that said woman had allegedly been subjected to rape at the time. Bathiudeen’s wife’s brother was arrested in that connection and he was also produced before the Colombo JMO on 24 July, said SDIG Rohana.

Two special Police teams consisting of officers from the Colombo South Crime Division and the Children and Women’s Bureau have been appointed to investigate the death of the girl.

The girl, who had been admitted to Ward 72 of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) on 3 July with burn injuries, had died on 15 July while receiving treatment. On 16 July, the relevant Judicial Medical Officer (JMO), submitting the postmortem report of the deceased, informed Colombo Additional Magistrate Rajindra Jayasuriya that the victim had been seriously sexually abused for a long time.

Accordingly, following further investigations, several suspects including Bathiudeen’s wife, father-in-law, and the broker who brought the 16-year-old girl to Bathiudeen’s house had been arrested on 23 July in connection with the incident.

Previously two teams had gone to Dayagama in Hatton, where the deceased girl was residing, and the Puwakpitiya area in Avissawella where she had previously resided. Statements had also been recorded from the principal and deputy principal of the Kiriwandala Tamil Vidyalaya in Puwakpitiya.

Also, the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) has also commenced an investigation into the death of the girl. Commenting on this, NCPA Chairman Prof. Muditha Vidanapathirana had told the media that the NCPA hopes to investigate whether the child’s labour had been used illegally with regard to this incident.

The victim from Dayagama, who was working as a maid in the house of MP Bathiudeen in the Bauddhaloka Mawatha area in the Borella Police Division, was admitted to the NHSL on 3 July with burn injuries and died on 15 July. Investigations have revealed that the girl was brought to the house in October 2020, and was 15 years and 11 months old when she was brought there.

Meantime, the Police had planned to conduct a special awareness programme last weekend in collaboration with the NCPA for Police personnel due to the increase in the reporting of sexual abuse cases particularly those against children.

SDIG Rohana recently told media that these programmes would focus on preventing child exploitation and sexual violence against children. The first programme was to take place in Nuwara Eliya last weekend, according to SDIG Rohana, where it specially focused on Police officers attached to the Nuwara Eliya Division.

The Stop Child Cruelty Trust informed that over 140 incidents of rape, 42 cases of serious sexual abuse and 54 cases of child abuse had been reported from various Police divisions in the country in the first 15 days of 2020 whereas this number has since skyrocketed to date, to 5,242 cases of child abuse, and 1,642 cases of the sexual abuse of women.