hild abductions, cases of child abuse, exploitation, harassment and child labour have become breaking news over the recent past much to the disappointment of the people. Their upbringing is shaped by many intrinsic and extrinsic factors yet only parents, teachers and loved ones give attention only to a handful of them. Poverty is just one of many issues that have gone beyond the control of those in power and today many children face the repercussions of being born to poor families in remote areas. The recent incident of child abduction and murder was reported from Akarangaha in Kotadeniyawa, when little Seya Sadevmi Bakmeedeniya went missing last Friday night and her naked body was found on Sunday. When the visited the scene of crime, the area residents and family members related their thoughts in grief.
Seya Sadevmi Bakmeedeniya was a 4 and a-half-year-old girl who went missing last Friday night while sleeping with her grandmother. At the time of the incident, her mother, grandmother, two siblings and grandfather had been at home. The following morning when her grandfather was talking to the other two siblings, who were awake, he had asked them to see if Seya is still sleeping. When the response was negative he had panicked and has brought this to the attention of the Police. The Police who launched extensive search operations from Saturday night was able to find little Seya’s naked body with a piece of cloth tightly tied around her neck, in an abandoned land within 200m from her house on Sunday morning.
Everybody was at home when the incident happened : Seya’s grandfather
In his comments to the, he said that normally when he wakes up he usually tricks his grandchildren to wake up as well. “Two of her siblings were awake and I asked my little grandson to see if Seya is cuddled up in her bed under the bed sheet since my vision is a bit poor. He jumped on the bed sheet, and much to my shock, I figured out that Seya was not at home. When I asked her mother and my wife they too said that they didn’t see her. We normally keep the front door open till my son returns home from work. Everybody was at home when the incident happened. Till now we are not sure about those who are behind this.”
I want justice to be served : Upul Nishantha
Speaking to the , Upul Nishantha, father of the late Seya Sadevmi said that he returned home at around 12.10am. “I run hires in a factory and that day I got a hire which went till late. After I returned home I didn’t check whether she was in because I was sure that she must be sleeping either with her mother or with her grandmother and I too went to sleep. On Saturday I woke up around 6.30 am and checked what my children were doing. I saw my other two children but not Seya. Then I went to the kitchen and asked my wife whether she saw her and she said no. By that time my father has also started to search for her and we went and lodged a complaint. Today (Sunday) morning we learned that her body was found near the stream that runs a bit further down our property. I don’t have any suspects in mind but I want justice to be served.”
Further investigations are being carried out : Police media spokesman’s office
In their comments about the incident, the Police media spokesperson’s office stated that the child’s body has been taken away for further investigations and also to perform postmortem. “The Negombo District Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) Dr. Ruhul Haq and Acting Magistrate Sisira Wijesuriya were present at the place of the incident to conduct investigations. The body was found at Aravindawaththa in Badalgama, Kotadeniyawa. Further investigations are underway.”
The Prime Minister has extended his support to serve justice to little Seya and family: Ministry of Women’s and Children’s Affairs
The also learnt that the Women’s and Children’s Affairs Minister had paid a visit to little Seya’s house and had expressed her sympathies. “She promised to extend her support in every possible way and strengthen the law on perpetrators. In addition to that she also mentioned that she will make sure that these incidents will not happen in future. Also the Prime Minister has extended his support with regard to finding the culprits and serving justice to the little girl and her family,” the co-ordinating secretary to the Minister said.
Violent people are sick in their minds: Prof. Harendra de Silva
In his comments about the incident, Prof. Harendra de Silva said that this is not the first time that this kind of an incident took place. “Today communication and social media sites such as Facebook there is rapid transmission of information. Even something that is very common it is being highlighted on these sites to make it look like a growing trend. The other reason why these things happen is because Sri Lanka is a highly traumatized country with years of civil wars, violence, torture against people and so on. I would say that impunity is being entertained and as a result, violence has become a common practice for people. This is a result of traumatic experiences. When you are driving on the road and if someone darts across your vehicle and scolds you in filth, then that is also considered as violence. The law in this country is not effective, or I would rather say that the law is only effective for some quarters. People know that killing, peddling drugs or selling alcohol are not brought to the book, and they have a common belief that if they kill someone they would be able to acquire a higher position in society. Violent people are in fact sick in their minds. So in this case not only they are turning a blind eye on violence, they are also rewarding violence.”
“If the child next door is being abducted we want to make a complaint. But due to the fear of facing harsh repercussions we avoid taking a risk. Unless it is your own child you don’t want to speak out. It is not only the responsibility of the Police, Government and the Judiciary also it is the responsibility of the people. I have a funny feeling that we adore people who are violent. Do we despise those who are peddling drugs or do we despise these criminals? We are a traumatized country and normally those who engage in these practices have also had a traumatized childhood. So when we see incidents similar to this, the Police needs to understand that only a known person would abduct or kill a child. Unknown people would only sexually abuse the children and abandon them. This is a responsibility of the Government to understand the situation and strengthen the law as effective as possible. If this problem is entertained in future, then we are depriving of the future of the generations to come.”
Pics by Kushan Pathiraja