Victim of assault denied justice due to powerful politician

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(April 28, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka Guardian) Ms. Thushanthi Pujani Perera (19) a school girl of ''Haksala'', Dulmura, Talathuoya in the district of Kandy was assaulted by a influential family as she refused to marry a man they had introduced to her. She suffered several injuries due to assault and was admitted to the Thalathuoya Government Hospital. However, they discharged her without proper treatment. Then she was admitted to the Kandy Teaching Hospital where she was treated till 4 March. While she was admitted at that hospital the perpetrators tried to abduct her. Several complaints were made to the Thalathuoya Police and to the Hospital Police Post but police are reluctant to initiate investigations due to the influence of a politician. After making a complaint against the suspects who were clearly identified by the virtual complainant, the parents and the victim were threatened with death. They fear that they will not be able to obtain justice due to the influence on the police by the suspect and the politician. This case is yet another illustration of the exceptional collapse of the rule of law in the country.

According to the information the Asian Human Rights Commission received Ms. Thushanthi Pujani Perera (19) of ''Haksala'', Dulmura, Talathuoya in the district of Kandy was a student at Hewaheta Central School studying in Art A/L class. Pujani has three younger brothers. Her father (H.S.L. Perera) is a heavy machine operator working in Jaffna and her mother (Ramya Perera) is a housewife. Danushka Roshan Wijesuriya who was 2 years senior to Pujani an old boy of her school showed an interest and expressed his love of her which she rejected.

On 27 February 2011 between 3pm and 4pm in the afternoon, the father of Danushka Roshan Wijesuriya of Koshinna, Talathuoya came to Pujani's house with his wife and Danushka's sister. They said that Danushka wanted to marry Pujani and that they had come to ask for her consent. When Pujani refused the proposal, Danushka's sister slapped Pujani and dragged her into the bedroom. Pujani fell near the bed and Dhanushka's father went into the room and put his foot on Pujani's chest and threatened to kill her if she did not agree to marry Dhanushka. The mother of Danushka then assaulted Pujani and tore her clothes. Pujani had several injuries on her face and her hands were bleeding. Danushak's father said he is a close friend of a well known politician of the area and therefore he could do anything, even kill Pujani and her whole family.

Danushka's mother and sister assaulted Pujani until the neighbors intervened. When Pujani's mother, Ramya, tried to stop Danushka's father assaulting Pujani, he beat Ramya with a stick injuring her head.

Later in the evening Ramya and Pujani were brought to the Talathuoya police where they made a complaint; they then were admitted to the Talathuoya Government Hospital. However, Pujani was discharged from the Talatuoya hospital the following day without treatment. Hence the family members of Pujani brought her to the Kandy Teaching Hospital on 28 February and the doctors advised them to admit her considering her situation. She was admitted in ward nine and later transferred to ward twelve. Pujani was discharged on 4 March 2011. Before she was discharged the officers attached to the hospital police post questioned Pujani regarding the incident. However, neither the police officers attached to Talathuoya Police nor the Kandy Hospital Police Post recorded a statement from Pujani whilst she was in the hospital or after she was discharged. This is in spite of Ramya's request to the hospital police post in Kandy hospital.

Furthermore, whilst Pujani was in Kandy Hospital, Danushka came to the hospital on 1 March and attempted to forcefully discharge her and remove her in a three-wheeler. Pujani called her mother who informed the hospital police post, but the police officers did not take action and said they could not do anything. They advised Ramya to complain to the Talathioya Police. Pujani somehow managed to escape but Danushka threatened that he will do everything possible to abduct her. Ramya went to the Kandy Police to make a complaint but the officers refused to accept it.

Pujani is now being followed by Danushka and his friends who are making death threats if she refuses to go with Danushka. The Gramasevaka (village official) is forcing Pujani and her relatives to mediate the dispute without going to the court and they fear that this is a result of the influence of the powerful politician. Pujani learned that the police officers have brought the perpetrators to the police station two days after the incident but they were not produced in court.

Danushka and his father are ardent supporters of the said politician. Danushka's father is engaged in trading in illicit liquor but the police are reluctant to take any action against him to fulfill the whims of the politician.

Pujani and her family are now in fear that not only will they be unable to get justice but they will also be denied protection from the police. Pujani's family is very concerned that she could be abducted at anytime on her journey to or from school.

Pujani's family requests the establishment of an impartial inquiry into the incident of 27 February, and the accused to be brought before the law.

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