Brutal rape rattles village in Kekirawa

One of the suspects is a 15-year-old boy

By Sarashi Samarasinghe and Ishtartha Wellaboda in Kekirawa
The sun rose to brighten up another day in Kekirawa, but it was a gloomy day for the residents of Wedinigama, a village situated six miles away from the Kekirawa town.
Wedinagama, a typical village hardly known to the outside world, has now come into limelight, because of a heinous crime committed on a deaf and dumb middle-aged woman and her 10-year-old daughter about a week ago.

According to Kekirawa Police, the woman and her little daughter were sexually assaulted by two persons who stormed their hut at predawn last Sunday.
After reaching Kekirawa town, we decided to call at the Kekirawa Police Station to get the Police version of the crime before proceeding to the village itself. The Police officer whom we met there was very co-operative and readily gave us whatever information we asked for.
The woman and her 10-year-old daughter, victims of the sexual attack, hail from a four-member family at Wedinagama. The other two members of this family are the victim-woman’s husband and her three-year-old son. Parents are deaf and dumb by birth. But the two children are not handicapped by this disability. They can hear and speak well.

“They are a poor family at Wedinigama,” the Police officer said.
We were shocked to hear what he presently disclosed.
“We have already arrested one of the two suspects. He is a 15-year-old boy,” said the Police officer.
“The main suspect has been identified as Kumara, a well-known thug in that area,” said the Police officer. According to him, Kumara had persuaded the boy to become an accessory to the crime.
“Kumara had first raped the mother and later the girl after posting the 15-year-old at the door to look out. Later, he encouraged and assisted the boy to rape the mother,” said the Police officer.
According to a villager, there are 360 families in the village and most of the residents are farmers.
We, on our long trek to the village, had to walk through paddy fields, streams and negotiate ‘edandas’– pole crossings over waterways. Later, we came upon the daub and wattle hut where the family lived when the tragedy struck them.

However, the family had abandoned their home. There was hardly anything inside the hut except a pestle.
When we were walking back along a footpath, we met a woman who described herself as a relative of the tragedy-struck family.
It transpired during the conversation we had with her, the family of the victims did not have a cordial relationship with the neighbours.

“We have been helping this family a lot. The husband of the woman victim is a hard-working farmer and is doing odd jobs to supplement his meagre income from farming,” she added.
“We, neighbours feel extremely sorry about what happened, especially about the 10-year-old girl. There is no good environment in this area for children to grow up. The two children are more unfortunate than others, their parents being deaf and dumb,” she said.
According to the relative, there had been a heavy downpour with thunder and lightning on the night the crime was committed. Thus, the screams of the victims may have got drowned by the sound of the rain. Therefore, neighbours may not have known what had happened,” she said.

Next we met the husband of the woman victim.
He explained the gruesome scene using sign language and a fellow villager translated.
“It was raining outside. When I heard some sound coming from the back door, I opened it but there was nothing I could see first. So, I flashed my torch light outside. Then suddenly two persons set upon me. They beat me up injuring my chest and my arm. Next they tied me up and threw me on the bed and went to my wife’s bed and took away my wife and daughter,” he said with eyes filled with tears.
According to the husband, his assailants had faces covered with bandanas. He explained that one of them was tall and stocky and was wearing a sarong which was folded up while the other was short and thin and he was wearing a shirt and pants which were folded up.

The man numbed with shock could see what was happening, but he was helpless.
“I was helpless. Though I screamed there was no one to help me. There was nothing left for me to do other than remain still and watch what was happening. They tore away the clothes of my wife and were behaving in an abnormal manner. Later they carried my daughter away on their shoulder towards the shrub jungle,” he said.
According to the Police, they are still looking for the main suspect. The villagers said the main suspect posed as a soldier on leave.
The mother and daughter are now receiving treatment at the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital.