There can be many possibilities as to what happened to medical student Harindra Seneviratne, who was found dead on September 11 in his room at the Medical faculty hostel in Maradana.
But the tragedy that occured will hover in everyone’s mind especially in that of Harindra’s parents, who are trying hard to come to terms with what happened that day.
On the day Harindra’s body was discovered, a bad stench emitted from his room. Feeling suspicious, the person-in-charge of the hostel broke open the locked door and saw Harindra’s body lying on the floor. According to the report of Colombo City Coroner Ashraff Rumy there was no evidence of violence but there were signs that he had been vomiting prior to his death. Police records state that there had been ten saline bottles hanging from the ceiling of the room in which the body was discovered and there was a canula attached to the body. The body was subsequently taken to the police morgue. The postmortem examination was carried out on September 12 by Assistant Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) Dr. S. Pranavan. Investigations into the student’s death are continuing.
Harindra, 27, was in his eighth year at the university. He had failed his university examination once. He was unable to sit the exam on another occasion as he had contracted dengue. He is also known to have been regularly suffering from severe migraine and was under medication. Harindra was the son of a retired principal and his mother a housewife. His parents have said that Harindra preferred to be alone with his books and that he was last seen on September 8. He was an intelligent student and impressed the family with his astonishing results at the main government examinations.
Harindra’s untimely death is mourned by his grieving family.
“He has always been such a good son; whenever he comes home he worships me before entering the house. When he lived with us he used to sleep beside me on a mat. I really cannot believe that he will do something like this to himself. He never showed any signs of being under stress or disturbed about anything. He loved and respected his family so much and never spoke back to us or argued with us. Before he leaves home to return to the university in Colombo, he always drinks the glass of water given by me and worships me,” Harindra’s mother J.W Nyanawathi said. “He faced several problems in life but he somehow overcame them. It breaks me to see that his life ended like this. I really don’t know what was going through his mind. From the time he was small his academic colours were vibrant and promising. He obtained extremely high marks in his grade-5 scholarship exam.
He faced his O/Ls at the ‘Wellassa National School’ and achieved very good results which helped him gain entrance to the science stream of the Monaragala National school in Bibile. He also became the first from the Monaragala district in the Bio-science stream and was chosen to the Colombo Medical Faculty.”
The mother said her son did not come home in months and that the last time he came home was in February.
“He said studies were getting rather hectic and felt that coming home for the holidays would be an obstacle to his studies. From November last year he was preparing for his final exam. He also asked me to hold a Bodhi Pooja on his behalf. My son was a very calm person, he used to study at his own pace. I have never really seen him under pressure. He was also very committed to the family. I just can’t believe what has happened. It does not seem like him at all,” she said tearfully.
The mother said he was her youngest son. “Not only was he the baby of the family, but he was our only son and was loved by the entire family,” she said.
Harindra’s 35-year-old sister Saroja Priyadharshini said, “ I really wish my baby brother was here with me now. He entered the Colombo Medical Faculty in 2009. He was always a high academic achiever, and I have always been so proud of him. He had only two more months for his final exam and he was preparing for it since last year. I can’t believe he threw it all away. No one worked as hard as him. I feel like someone just snatched his life away from us.”