SRI LANKA: Brutal assault of an eight-year-old girl by her class teacher
Name of victim: UG Isani Madushani, eight-years-old, grade 4 student of the Mahabodhi School
Name of alleged perpetrator: Sarath, a grade 4 class teacher of the Mahabodhi School
Place of incident: Mahabodhi School, Panagala Galle
Date of incident: 22 February 2006
I am writing to you with deep concern regarding the brutal assault of an eight-year-old girl by her class teacher.
According to the information I have received, on 22 February 2006, Isani Madushani was assaulted by her class teacher, Sarath with a ruler after having made a mistake when reciting the multiplication table. Consequently, Isani began to bleed from her cheek but the teacher showed little concern and said, never mind, let her bleed.
When her father, UG Sunil Gamini collected her from school at the end of the day he noticed that she was bleeding and had blood on her uniform and immediately carried her to the Udugama Police Station to lodge a complaint. She was admitted to the Udugama District Hospital and medically treated for three days.
When the matter was transferred to the Hiniduma police station, whose jurisdiction the school falls within, the Officer-in-Charge and other policemen there attempted to coerce the father into settling the case and the teacher pressurised him to refrain from taking legal action and offered money. UG Sunil Gamini stood firm and insisted that all he wanted was for justice to be served. It was only then that the OIC ordered Isanis statement be recorded. Finally, the police charged the perpetrator before court and had him released on bail.
However, the perpetrator and other school teachers then attempted to coerce other parents to persuade UG Sunil Gamini to refrain from taking legal action and they have, by coercion or undue influence, attempted to prevent students from giving evidence on behalf of the victim.
Since the incident the victim has been deprived of her right to education as she refuses to go to school because she is scared of being assaulted again. Even though her father has informed this matter to the educational authorities and requested them to take necessary action, to date he has not received any reply. It is also alleged that Isani is not the only student to have been assaulted by the perpetrator. The perpetrator had previously inhumanly assaulted five other students, but no action had been taken against him.
I therefore am calling on you to intervene in this matter. Physically punishing/assaulting schoolchildren is against the law as per the Circular issued by the Education Department to all schools dated 11 May 2005. The perpetrator should therefore be punished for his inhuman assault committed against the victim and questioned about the allegations made regarding his treatment of other students. The other teachers who attempted to instigate the parents to persuade UG Sunil Gamini to refrain from taking legal action, should also be punished or suspended from their work. The educational authorities who were made of aware of this incident, but did not take action, must ensure the safe return to school of the girl and provide any counseling if required. Finally, disciplinary action must be taken against personnel at the Hiniduma police station for their misconduct in this case.
I trust your intervention will be forthcoming in this matter.
PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO:
1. Dr. Hiranthi Wijemanne
National Child Protection Authority
330, Thalawathgoda Road
Tel: +94 11 2 778912/13/14
Fax: +94 11 2 778975
2. Minister for Education
Ministry of Education
Tel: + 94 11 2 785 617
Fax: + 94 11 2 784 846
3. The Provincial Director of Education
Department of Education
76, Anandakumarasamy Mawatha
Fax no. +94 11 2693894
4. Bo Viktor Nylun
Head of Child Protection
UNICEF Sri Lanka
P.O. Box 143, Colombo
Tel: +94 11 2 555 270 (6 lines)
Fax: +94 11 2 551 333
5. Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
No. 36, Kynsey Road
Tel: +94 11 2 694 925 / 673 806
Fax: +94 11 2 694 924 / 696 470
6. Mr. Chandra Fernando
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
Fax: +94 11 2 440440/327877
7. National Police Commission
3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers,
109 Galle Road
Tel: +94 11 2 395310
Fax: +94 11 2 395867
8. Mr. K. C. Kamalasabesan
Attorney General's Department
Fax: +94 11 2 436421
9. Mr. J Thangawelu
Fax: 94 11 2381 394
10. Mr. Jacob Egbert Doek
Committee on the Rights of the Child
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
Fax: +41 22 917 9022
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)