An investigation has been launched by the Narahenpita Police after a woman carrying an infant posing as a beggar had allegedly tried to harass another female.
According to a message circulating on social media the incident had happened at the Kirulapone traffic lights and the accused party had kept following her who was on her way to collect her children. However, the Narahenpita Police is yet to hold an inquiry as the accused party hadn’t reported to Police yesterday.
According to the message, the lady was on the way to collect her children when she was waiting to take a turn towards Baseline Road at the Kirulapone traffic lights.
The message read : “A green three-wheeler had stopped by. A female knocked on the passenger seat window from inside the three-wheeler. Since I didn’t respond she got out carrying an infant and when I lowered the shutter she was begging and pleading for money. The man riding the three-wheeler had an odd body language and therefore I said I don’t have money. Her tone changed from pleading to demanding and she tried to put her hand and grab my handbag. At once I closed the window. Thereafter she started harassing me, screaming in filth, hitting my vehicle and even spitting. While all this was going on she was still carrying the baby. I tried to avoid this incident and drove slowly but they continued to follow and harass me. When things started getting dangerous I started recording the incident. As I reached Narahenpita Junction they started bashing the vehicle but my attempt to alert a traffic police officer didn’t succeed. Thereafter I drove to the Narahenpita Police station and lodged a complaint.”
“The incident had happened in Kirulapone but the complaint had been lodged at the Narahenpita Police Station,” said Narahenpita Police Chief Inspector J.S. K Jayaneththi. “The woman from the three-wheeler hasn’t spat but the complaint says that she has asked for money. When the female in the car had refused, the other had scolded her. Then the three-wheeler had tried to overtake her at the Mahawatta traffic lights. We have found the address of this woman and an investigation is under way.”
Although the accused party was informed they had failed to report to Police as of yesterday.
“Using children for begging is an offence under Sections 288, 288A of the Penal Code but there are several issues,” opined Prof. Muditha Vidanapathirana, Chairman of National Child Protection Authority (NCPA). “This has become one of the difficult areas to control and it is a national crisis. Some kind of a rehabilitation process needs to be in place. What we do is identify them and later chase them away. While some people deliberately use children for begging there are others who are genuinely poor. He further said that he had proposed the appointment of child protection officers as authorised officers to identify these people.
“This could be done under section 37.4 of the NCPA Act. During last year we received around 301 complaints about children being used for begging purposes. In turn we referred these to the relevant police stations but the police stations have gotten back to us only in 51 instances and it is only in six of these instances that the beggars have been identified. Therefore we can see that the success rate is very low. But after these people are produced in courts there has to be a follow up. However discussions are underway as to how we can bring about a permanent solution to this issue.” (Kamanthi Wickramasinghe)
With reference to the news item carried on August 1 titled ‘Alleged harassment case : Narahenpita police launches investigation’ we have inadvertently named the victim of the incident as Ms. Tara Wikramanayake. We regret the error.