In a new twist to the controversial incident involving a six year old child from Kuliyapitiya who has been deprived of a school due to rumours that he is infected with HIV, it is learnt that Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has been behind the incident and had also ordered provincial authorities including Zonal Education Director A. S. K. Jayalath against finding an amicable solution to the problem.
Kariyawasam appears to be suffering from the HIV phobia himself, and has also threatened to take a court order and separate the child from the mother, because as Sri Lanka is a tropical country and as the child sleeps next to the mother, he too can contract HIV.
Photo – Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam with his child
Speaking to the media soon after visiting Malvathu Viharaya yesterday, Kariyawasam said that the Zonal Education Director has confirmed that the child’s father had died from HIV, and even the child’s mother is HIV+.
“This is a tropical country and there are ways the child can contract it as he sleeps next to his mother. So we have requested the mother to hand over the child to probationary services, but if she doesn’t then we will get a court order and take him away,” he said.
He blamed the media for making a fuss about the incident and trying to use the event as a commercial venture. Kariyawasam also alleged that certain human rights organisations have gotten involved in the issue and have influenced the mother by putting ideas into her head, which has led to the issue going a step further.
Incidentally, Kariyawasam himself was born in Kuliyapitiya, and attended the Kuliyapitiya Maha Vidyalaya. He has also come under heavy criticism for his failure both as a resident of Kuliyapitiya and the education minister to not play a more proactive role in helping find the child a school.
Meanwhile, President Maithripala Sirisena blamed the illiteracy of society to the current situation. Speaking to the child’s mother over telephone on Saturday, Sirisena also assured to provide the child with a school.
“We will help you, and we will get him a school, don’t worry. The society doesn’t have an understanding about this issue, this is why such a situation has happened,” Sirisena said.
The mother of the child has also filed a fundamental rights violation petition citing Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Provincial Education Director J. G. N. Tilakarathna, Zonal Education Director A. S. K. Jayalath, Education Ministry Secretary, Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police as well as the Principals of Bohandiya Primary School, Sripathi Royal College, as respondents.
In the petition, she has urged that necessary steps should be taken to ensure her child’s right to a formal education and have also called for an investigation as to whether any one of the respondents are acting under pressure or undue influence which led to them not taking action to ensure her child’s right to attend school.
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