By AHRC –
The chief monk at the Shanthi Viharaya in Kelaniya, Sri Lanka is accused of raping a 43-year-old woman. The incident reportedly happened on January 4, 2013. (The names of the victim and the monk are withheld).
The prosecutrix, a mother of two, has complained that she had known this monk for some time. It is alleged that 4 January, the prosecutrix went to meet the monk, seeking some advice. To her surprise, the monk is alleged to have suggested to the prosecutrix, that she should have sex with him, which she eventually refused. The prosecutrix claims that, thereafter, the monk forcibly took her to a room and assaulted her on her head and stomach. At this, it is reported that the prosecutrix kneeled before the monk and begged him not to assault or harm her further. It is alleged that the monk did not agree, and then he forcibly removed the prosecutrix’s cloths and raped her several times. The prosecutrix alleges that she was able to escape only much later when the door of the room was unlocked.
The prosecutrix lodged a complaint to the police on the next day and she was admitted to the Ragama hospital. She was hospitalised for seven days. During her stay at the hospital, a Judicial Medical Officer examined the prosecutrix. At the hospital, the police questioned the prosecutrix and recorded a statement. At once stage the police tried to suggest to the prosecutrix that whether she was mentally fit. The prosecutrix however denied the accusation that she is mentally ill.
On her return from the hospital, the prosecutrix tried to get the police to act on her complaint. At this the police took her in their vehicle to police station and interrogated her for about six hours. However, she noticed that the police were not writing down any of the things that she revealed. She also found that the questions that the police asked were demining and further insulting her morally. The prosecutrix alleges that the questioning by the police made her feel that the police were asking questions merely for their enjoyment. She insisted several times that her statement should be recorded.
Meanwhile, the police, also interrogated the prosecutrix’s sister and son (17-year-old). The police are accused of having attempted to convince the prosecutrix’s sister to pressure the prosecutrix to withdraw the complaint, as this monk was very powerful.
In the meanwhile the monk is alleged to have contacted the prosecutrix and threatened her that he will use “Gurukam” (witchcraft) to make her mad and asked her not to pursue the complaint since according to him, the Gurukam cannot succeed. Despite several attempts by the prosecutrix and her relatives, the police have not taken any actions against the monk. Her relatives are living in fear, that she could be harmed by the monk or his supporters.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has written to the Inspector General of Police in Sri Lanka, Mr. N.K. Illangakoon, requesting him to intervene in the case and to ensure that an impartial and sensible investigation into the incident is undertaken, giving also importance to the fact that the case is of rape and the victim should be treated by the investigating agency with decency, respecting her gender. The AHRC has also called for the arrest of the suspected monk so that he does not intervene criminally in the investigation and a possible subsequent prosecution in the case.