By Thanges Paramsothy –
On 14th May 2015, morning around 8.30 am, a domestic servant who came telling an incident of rape and murder of a student studying advanced levels in Pungudutivu Maha Vidiyalam. The landlord, eighty years old lady, was listening to the incident scolding the unknown person/s who committed the crime. I came out of my room and listen to her. She explained the incident as follow:
“An eighteen years old student, S. Vidhiya, went to school on 13th May 2015 from her home. She did not return home after the school. As she did not return home in the evening, Vidhiya’s brother went to the school in search of her. He got to know that she did not attend the school. Her brother with their relatives was searching her. They did not find her immediately. They eventually reported about her disappearance to the local police and kept searching her. The next day early morning, on the way to the school from her home, her bicycle was found. One of her shoes was found near her bicycle and other was in another place. Her dead body was found inside the bush in Vallan, ward-10 in Pungudutivu. Her each leg was separately tied up in two separate trees. Her hands were tied together keeping behind her head. She was raped and then murdered.” She finished telling the incident and started doing her usual work in her landlord’s home.
The incident quite disturbed me. I wanted to obtain further information about this incident so that I decided to visit the place of the incident. When I went there, it was bit late. Police were present in the area. Nobody was allowed to see the body. However, people after getting to know about this have visited the place and seen the body before the police came. It seemed that the body was in a terrible condition according to the people’s expression. Even though people were not allowed to see the body after the present of the police, they were on the lane talking about this with anger, fear and suspicion. After a while, the body was taken away from the scene.
Following the incident, the school students and teachers were on the road condemning the murder and demanding for justice for the affected family and the safety of the students in general. A three-wheeler, which carried loudspeakers, announced about the murder and requested Pungudutivu’s people to join the protest. The school head master said that those, who committed crime, should be punished. The family who is affected by this incident should be given justice”.
Apart from this murder of the student in Pungudutivu, Jaffna in general has now become a land of gang-related crimes and alcoholism. We regularly hear murder, rape, gang fights and theft as common news in local newspapers. Women in post-war Jaffna seemed to be easy targets of sexual and physical harassment and verbal abuses. The local inhabitants are not happy with the way the criminals are treated by the police establishment and the law of the country. The people say that those who committed crimes are rarely arrested and punished. Even though they are arrested, they however easily come out without getting punishment. The crime committed by local youths and gangs often went unpunished. This at any means does not give justice for those who are affected.
When a country slowly moves towards democracy, justice, peace and reconciliation in post-conflict scenario, allowing rooms for the incidents like this will create fear and distress among people who have already gone through a series of violent during the time of armed conflict and political violence. The crimes, which increasingly affect the potential harmony of the people and the country, need to be stopped by the relevant establishment. The only way of doing this is placing the law and order in practice.
*Thanges Paramsothy – PhD Research Student in Anthropology, School of Social Sciences, University of East London.