Villagers angry over armed cadres still at large

  • Rape and killing of teenager on Delft Island
By Marisa de Silva

Villagers of Delft Island, Jaffna have questioned the failure of the state to disarm former paramilitary cadres even after the rape and killing of 13-year-old Jesudasan Lakshini allegedly by a former Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) cadre on March 3 this year.

Angry villagers claim that it was only after they made a complaint to the Navy, that the Police arrested the suspect Kanthasami Jegatheswaran (alias Kiruba, 31) and produced him before the Kayts Magistrate.
Delft Police Acting OIC, W.P. Mendis told the Sunday Times, that the accused was first produced in the Kayts Magistrate Court on March 16 and was remanded at the Jaffna Prison. The case was taken up on Thursday, March 30 and the case will be taken up for trial again on April 9.

“Three months ago, the accused had held a young girl at gun (“plastic pistol”) point in Delft, in an attempt to intimidate and rape her. Following this incident, he was ordered by the Kayts Magistrate to report at the Delft Police Station on a daily basis until further notice. He was following this order until the day before the rape and killing of Lakshini,”he said.

However villagers say that the pistol was real and not a plastic one. Lakshini had left home for the fish market at about 8 a.m. on that fateful day, with the hundred rupee note her mother had given her to buy fish, clasped in her hand. Later that day, when she hadn’t yet returned home, her family and relations had started a search for her in the neighbourhood.

“My relatives saw my child being picked up by Jegatheswaran (the alleged perpetrator) while she was on her way to the market. He had told her to come with him that he would get her some fish that was not available at the market that day,” Lakshini’s distraught mother said.

A woman from the village who had discovered Lakshini’s body on her way to collect firewood had alerted the police. “We found Lakshini’s half naked body, lying face down on a bare land about 30 metres down a little lane close to the Pillaiyar Temple, on the 10th Region of Delft. She was found wearing only her Shalwar top and she had sustained multiple injuries to her head. A bicycle, an empty bottle of arrack (quarter pint), a 100 rupee note and a few coins, and a large stone were found alongside the body of the victim,” the Delft Police told the Sunday Times.

The post mortem report stated said she had been raped and later killed with her head being smashed by a rock. “I cannot bear the loss of my dearest daughter,” Lakshini’s tearful father lamented.
Villagers claim that the suspect had also attempted to abuse two other young girls, two days prior to the attack on Lakshini.

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