ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 23, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 43

Contradiction, confusion over tsunami child

The child with IP L.G Sanjeevani

A five-year-old child, believed to have been lost in the 2004 tsunami and later found in Horowupotana, is claimed to be a child who was given for adoption by a woman who had gone to West Asia for work, the Horowupotana police said. The child named Pathum had been allegedly left under the care of a 19-year-old youth.

The youth and the child were produced in courts by the police following an anonymous call about the child and speculation that the child, hailing from the south had been taken to Horowupotana after the tsunami. The child was been cared for by a 19-year-old youth, Malith Thilanga of Seenigama in Hikkaduwa. The child had been supposedly left under the care of Thilanga’s mother, but she had passed away. Thilanga had then moved to his sister’s house in Horowupotana with the child.

Horowupotana police had taken the youth into custody in a bus plying to Anuradhapura. This arrest was the result of a neighbour reporting to police that a child sans parents or guardian is being kept in a home close to Horowupotana town and that he is being ill treated by the household.

Horowupotana police with IP L.G Sanjeevani of the women’s and children’s unit visited the house last Tuesday on receipt of the information. The lady in the house informed police that the child was not there at the time as her brother had taken him away to her father’s house in Seenigama the previous day. However on the following day police received another call that a youth was taking the child to Anuradhapura in a bus.

The Mihintale police were then informed and the youth arrested by them when the bus reached the town. When the youth was questioned he had told police that he did not know the child’s full name. He had apparently lied to police that his parents had adopted the child with the consent of the child’s mother who is now away in West Asia. He confessed the child’s life was saved by him at Seenigama when the tsunami hit the area and that there is no birth certificate of any other authentic document about him. IP Sanjeevani had telephoned the suspect’s father in Seenigama.

He had promised to visit the Horowupotana police with the necessary documents but failed to keep his promise. As some statements made by the youth to police are contradictory and as the guardian in Seenigama has yet to report to the police as promised, police say that the child appears to be a victim of the tsunami.
The child has a birth mark on his neck which police say would help to trace the child’s identity.

The child now in police custody and the suspect are to be produced before the Kebitigollewa magistrate. DIG NCP K P P Pathirana, ASP Anura Senaratne, HQI Gamini Fernando and IP Sanjeevani are investigating further into the incident.

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