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A Village Shuns A Little Girl

Feb 26, 2011 2:09:01 PM - thesundayleader.lk
  • Ten Year Old Who Was Allegedly Raped Comes Home After A Seven Day Stay In Hospital

By Ranee Mohamed

The doctor tried to comfort me by telling me that her virginity is somewhat intact. I could not stop myself from crying for this was not a debate we ought to be having about a ten year old child,’ said her maternal uncle, Jayasinghe Arachchige Nishantha.
“This little girl is now refusing to go to school. She starts to cry the moment she is at the school entrance. We really don’t know what to do. We have to send her to school  but she does not want to go to this school.  In addition to dealing with our hunger we have to now deal with this anguish. She cannot go to her school anymore and we cannot afford to do anything else,” said Nishantha.
“Her mother, entrusted her daughters aged 13 and nine to me before she left for Kuwait about two years ago. Ever since, we hardly hear from her, neither have we received a cent from her.  I looked after these children like I would look after my eyes. I am engaged in cultivation and my mother is too aged to do any kind of labour,” said this young man.
“Of course we let them go to school without any fear. Who on earth would have imagined that the child will be subject to an ordeal of alleged rape within the school premises?” asked Nishantha in heartbreak and shock.
The 10 year old (name withheld) was allegedly lured into the doorway of a teacher’s ‘official quarters’ situated within the school premises.
When contacted by The Sunday Leader, the 10 year old girl said: “The teacher’s husband showed me a toy belonging to their baby and as I went to take the toy, he dragged me into the room, and threw me on the bed. Then he held my hands up above my head with one hand and he climbed on top of me and said that I had ‘only a small job to do’.”
“The teacher’s husband kept telling me not to scream and said that he climbed on me because he wanted to play on my legs,” explained the 10 year old  in a small voice.
The husband of the ‘Sinhala’ teacher, an army deserter is the father of a two year old boy.
Begging for an inquiry,  J.A.  Nishantha said that this village called Nawadankulama, in Mangala Eliya,  is where they have been living for the past seven years. “This is where the children will attain puberty, get married and be buried. But the fate that has befallen our littlest girl is akin to being buried, for wherever she may go now people whisper and point her out. There will be no marriage for her – not in this village. There is no way of stopping this story from being whispered into the ears of her future husband,” said Nishantha. “Already  there have been instances of some youth making lewd comments and suggestions to her and we have no means of settling anywhere else,” he said dejectedly.
As the village continues to gossip about the 10 year old, the news has not yet reached her mother in Kuwait. Nishantha does have a phone number for her, but says that he does not have the heart to telephone her and tell her about the ordeal that her youngest child had to undergo, while in her school uniform.
The alleged molester had, according to the child, presented her with a white cloth officially issued by the state authorities to sew uniforms and asked not to talk about the incident to anyone.
“For the seven days she was in hospital, she had food to eat. But now that she has come home we do not know what to give her to eat. This is nothing new for us. Our poverty has been the reason for this unbearable misery which is plaguing us every day.  For three days of the week we make rotis.
Thereafter, we really do not know what to do. We starve during the rest of the week, eating a fruit off a tree or drinking some plain tea. We are poor, helpless people whose lives are filled with problems. And now it has become impossible for us to live in this village,” said Nishantha.
What has not been investigated is the allegation that several other children have in fact been sent to help the husband of this school teacher to ‘look after’ the child while she was teaching in the school.
The other little children who have been sent to ‘play’ with the child of the school teacher on different occasions have  remained in the three-roomed solitary ‘teachers’ quarters’  with the husband.
This couple has been the sole occupants of the teacher’s quarters.
It is learnt that the 35 year old army deserter has been taken into custody by the Mundalama police. (Complaint no. MOIB/189/112)

Preserving The “Good Name” Of The School
Inquiring into allegations that the principal, who is rumoured to be a ‘good friend’ of the couple, is keen to protect the ‘good name’ of the school, The Sunday Leader contacted the School Principal of Nawadankumala Vidyalaya, who identified himself only as Jayantha, to ask what measures the school had taken to prevent the recurrence of a similar incident and what action he has taken to help the wronged child to settle back in school.
Hesitating to discuss the subject, Jayantha was quick to the point out that a court case is on and that he will not talk to the media or anyone else.