We call her ‘Ganga’; She is a 35 years old widow with three children from Matale. On 03rd September 2006, at the age of 36 years, her husband was killed while he was serving at Sampur battle front where he was attached to No 07 Gamunu Regiment.
She has three children aged 18 years(son), 16 years(daughter) and 12 years.(son). Now it is the 19th year of their marriage.
Until now, she receives the salary as well as the pension of her husband. To receive these, she has to submit a certifying form signed by the Gramasevaka of the area to confirm that she is unmarried and living as a widow. On June 2012, she went to the office of the Gramasevaka, a Government Officer, to get this certificate, however, the GS denied and postponed it saying that he did not have enough time to attend to it.
Later, he called her telephone and said her to come to a place at Mahiyangana and get the certificate signed. Hence, she went to Mahiyangana and met him; where he told her to go inside a room enabling him to sign the said certificate. When she refused to accept his request, then he proposed her to get on to his motorcycle and she obliged to it. He took her to a house instead of his office. In a room of that house he signed the form and placed the seal.
After completing the job, he pushed her onto a bed in that room and started to sexually abuse her. She struggled to resist his coercion; however, he held her with force, removed his trouser; then he inserted something looked like a condom to his penis, lifted her skirt up and did something in between her two thighs, although she struggled hard to escape from his extinguish.
She cried that she would go to the police and complaint this. For that, he apologized and promising that such things would never happen in future. He asked her not to go to the police; he threatened her to kill her if she would tell it to anybody else. Because of fear and shy she did not take any action regarding the incident.
Once again, on 17th September 2012 at around 9 am, she went to meet that same Gramaniladari of Devagiriya, named T. G. G. S. N Thennakoon to get that said certifying form signed by him. There were about 10 people in his office at that time. He told Ganga to wait for some time and said he would do it after sending others. Later, when the other people had gone, Ganga sat on a chair in front of his writing table to get the said form filled.
At that moment, he kicked her leg under the table and held her hair using one of his hands and patted her arm using his other hand. She tried to stand up but he was holding her hair firmly. He opened the zip of his trouser and took his penis out; he said that he would not do any harm, but asked her do something by her mouth. For that, she blamed, scolded him, pushed him fiercely aside and ran away.
She was very shocked; she cried and described the incident to her elder sister. Her elder sister advised her to go to Wilgamuva Divisional Secretariat Office. She described the whole incident to Divisional Secretary called Nishantha Dinipriya. He asked one of the officers called Herath whether there was any other Gramasevaka to sign the certifying form.
Herath said, ‘Sir, we would call Gramasevaka Thennakoon to come here’. He made a telephone call to Thennakoon and said, ‘You have a problem, so come here’.
Within half an hour Tennakoon arrived at the Divisional Secretary’s Office by his motorcycle. The Divisional Secretary told him to sign the form, but he refused to do so and said that Ganga was married.
Then the Divisional Secretary ordered Herath to accompany the said Granmasevaka to her home and inquire into the allegation.
When she refused to go in a cab with the Gramasevaka the Divisional Secretary forced her saying that they had to solve the matter.
So she had to go with them to her house. They questioned her sister in law and took her signature to the statement confirming that Ganga was not married to another person or no any gent come to her home.
Then they questioned from the people of the village accompanying the said Gramasevaka as to whether she was married to anyone else or not. She protested this act. So the officer named Herath went alone to meet the people in the village.
She came to know from the village people that they were questioned as to whether she was married or not. The Divisional Secretary Nishantha Dinipriya wrote a letter to the OIC dated 2012.09.17 which clearly stated that the people in the village confirmed that she was not married.
At the time of the inquiry, the officer called Herath blamed Ganga’s youngest son using filth. When Ganga questioned him about it he tried to assault her son. The officer Herath after inquiring the matter accompanied Gramasevaka Tennakoon in the cab.
Ganga went to the Divisional Secretariat by a trishaw. The Divisional Secretary Nishantha Dinipriya, the officer Herath and Gramasevaka Tennakoon locked the door of the Divisional Secretary’s Office room and discussed for over half an hour.
After that she was called and said that they did not find reliable answer to confirm as to whether she was married or not and therefore they would refer the matter to Police. The Divisional Secretary also said until then they could not issue the certifying form.
She asked the Divisional Secretary to return the three forms which the Gramasevaka refused to sing to certify. But the DS refused to return the forms and asked her whether she would like to settle the matter simply; and for that she nodded.
On 18.09.2012 again she met the Divisional Secretary Nishantha Dinipriya and asked for the return of the three forms. He refused, chased her and told her to go away without making any trouble.
On 18.09.2012 Wilgamuva Police came and asked her to come to the Police Station at 3pm. The OIC asked her the incident and ordered women police personal to take statement. But Ganga could not found suitable environment to relate all the details because male officers were closer to them and were laughing and chatting. Her signature was taken to the statement without reading it to her.
After that she was taken to Matale District Hospital and was admitted. Doctors referred her to a psychiatrist. Now she takes treatment from the psychiatric clinic.
Ganga has made written complaints to the relevant authorities including the Human Rights Commission, District Secretary of Matale, Director General, and Secretary of State Administration and Minister of Home affairs, the IGP and the DIG of Kandy.
Harshi C. Perera
M. L. A. M Ismail