Death due to drowning stands until fresh post-mortem report

By Chris Kamalendran

The probe into the deaths of Maduraveeran Jeevarani and Lethchuman Sumathi, has taken a new turn with the teenagers’ parents claiming they had observed injuries on the bodies.

A fresh post-mortem report on the deaths of the two domestic aides, aged 13 and 14, will be submitted to the Colombo Chief Magistrate on September 11, when the inquiry is taken up.

Attorney E.Thambiah appearing on behalf of the families told Courts the initial post-mortem report submitted had no mention of external injuries, but family members claim there were. The cause of death according to the first post-mortem report was drowning.

The bodies being exhumed (above)

A second post-mortem was conducted by Dr. A. P. Seneviratne, Judicial Medical Officer Kandy after the bodies were exhumed on a court order.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi had allowed an application filed on behalf of the two families to exhume the two bodies which were buried in their hometown Maskeliya.

Accordingly, the bodies were exhumed in the presence of the Hatton District Judge Sadun Widanage on Wednesday.

Police have also obtained court permission to get details of telephone calls taken from a phone used by one of the victims to call her family members on the day prior to the incident. Court granted permission and ordered the phone company to provide details of the calls taken on August 14.

Meanwhile, residents from Laxapana estate from where the two girls hailed and rights organizations have requested the authorities to carryout out a full investigation into the deaths as they suspected foulplay.

With pressure mounting on political parties and trade unions to prevent children being smuggled out of the estates through agents as domestic aides to Colombo, the Up Country People’s Front (UPF) and the Western Province People’s Front have introduced two programmes to minimize estate children and women being taken away as domestic aides.

“We will get the people to register if they want to go for employment so that the party can help to monitor their welfare,” UPF Deputy Minster P. Radhakrishnan told the Sunday Times

In a bid to discourage people going out for employment they also hope to improve welfare facilities for estate wokers, by using the District Development Fund.

Western Province People’s Front MP Mano Ganeshan said they hope to set up vigilante committees to prevent job agents visiting the estate sector looking for persons for employment.

Family members look on as the bodies of the two girls are exhumed.

“Estate companies provide insufficient working days for the workers and as parents cannot offer better education and other facilities for their children, young girls and women come to Colombo seeking employment,” he said.

OIC Crimes Dinesh Atharagama told the Sunday Times they were awaiting several reports including the one on the handwriting of the suicide note reportedly written by one of the domestic aides and discovered at one of the employer’s homes.

The other reports include the second post-mortem and the government analyst report. He said according to the first post-mortem report death was caused by drowning and that report stands until the second one comes in.

He said several statements have been recorded, but there was no evidence to make any arrests.

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