The Rambukkana Police is under the scrutiny of the Attorney General s Department and the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) following the revelation of negligence on its part in a case of abduction and rape of a 15-year-old school girl.
The police allegedly turned a blind eye to a series of complaints against the suspect by the victim s family since March, 2006 and no action was taken by the Rambukkana Police until the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) intervened recently on behalf of the victim to pressure the local police to act.
Although, the abduction and rape had taken place early this year, the first complaint against the suspect for harassing the family had been lodged in March 2006.
The suspect had gone berserk when the rape victim s family asked him not to visit their home after the parents had noticed his unusual interest in their then 13-year-old victim and her 15-year-old sister.
Authoritative sources asserted that the girl could have been easily saved had local police acted swiftly when the victim s family sought police protection. Unfortunately, their complaint hadn t been properly investigated, the sources said. The suspect could have had some support from some policemen stationed at Kegalle. Finally, a special police squad, acting on the directions of Upali Hewage, DIG Sabaragamuwa, had arrested the suspect, an NCPA official said. In fact, an NCPA team, too, had been tracking down the suspect when the team from Ratnapura arrested him.
NCPA spokesman Dimuthu Galapathy told The Island the Attorney General had directed the relevant authorities to speed up investigations.
Fielding questions, DIG Hewage said the Rambukkana police was to be blamed for this unfortunate situation. `I have already sent a report in this regard to the IGP,` he said. The Officer-in-Charge of the station would be squarely responsible for negligence of duty. Hewage identified the suspect as a three wheeler driver.
Galapathy said altogether five persons had been arrested in connection with the case.
K. C. Logeswaram, Secretary to the National Police Commission (NPC) yesterday said the NPC would take up this case. `We would definitely make inquiries,` he told The Island, promising speedy inquiry.
According to the victim s statements to police, the suspect had taken her to a hut on a hillside where he repeatedly raped her before a group of villagers led by her father rescued her. When they had reached the hut, the suspect hadn t been there. By that time, Rambukkana police had called off their search leaving the victim s father to pursue the search. The local police had failed to at least station a policewoman when she had been warded at the government hospital. Fearing for the safety of the teenager, the family had taken her home. According to the victim s family, the suspect had phoned their home and had threatened them with death and once stormed their home, thrown chillie powder on the face of the victim s mother and then tried to grab her. Swift intervention of the neighbours had thwarted the attempt to abduct her. But local police had turned a blind eye to terrorising of a helpless family, subsequent investigations have revealed.
In early June, the suspect had attacked the victim s aunt with a sword. She had received severe injuries to a hand and on her back. According to statements given to investigators, the three wheeler driver had boasted that two of his brothers in the army (one deserter) would take care of them if anything happened to him.
Police said the Sabaragamuwa Range should be held responsible for this sorry state of affairs. Had senior officials in charge of the Sabaragamuwa Range been watchful, they would have noticed the failure on the part of the Rambukkana police and the Kegalle police which also had received a complaint from the targeted family, they said.