The rape and murder of 14-year-old Harishnavi | Daily News

The rape and murder of 14-year-old Harishnavi

MPs, PC members, school students and the public protested the death of fourteen-year-old Harshnavi, demanding the perpetrators be brought to book.


Kengatharan Mathiny opened the door to her home and entered calling out to her daughter Harishnavi, but what greeted her froze her in her tracks: the body of her daughter swung from the roof of their house.

Fourteen-year-old Harishnavi had refused to go to the school that morning. She had been displeased with the state of her uniform, which was old and tattered. Her mother, a teacher at Vipulanantha College, Vavuniya where Harishnavi and her siblings attended school, had attempted to pacify her by promising to buy a new uniform for her the next day.

Harishnavi remained adamant that she would not go to school in her old uniform, and since this was not unusual behaviour for the child, her mother Mathiny had left her behind while she and her two other children left to school.

Mathiny's husband Kengatharan had left the country nine years ago and was domiciled in Germany. His wife and three children - studying in Grades 10, 9 and 5, the oldest being a boy and the younger two girls - lived a quiet life. Neighbours said the children were doing well in school and that Mathiny brought them up well, despite the absence of a head of household.

On that fateful morning, Tuesday February 16, Harishnavi stayed at home. Their home, on 4th Lane in Ukkulankulam is flanked on both sides by empty lands, although there was a house across the road. Mathiny had asked her daughter to fasten the gate and lock the door behind her, and left with a last wave good-bye, never thinking she would be greeted by the body of her daughter when she returned.

Malathy's cries had reached her neighbours who had rushed to the house to see what the matter was. By that time, Malathy had lifted the inert body of her daughter to the bed. Although she had noticed the girl's trouser was unbuttoned and unzipped, she had merely refastened it, never imaging there was more to the dark tale than the horrific suicide she imagined it was.

Inquirer into Sudden Deaths Sivanathan Kishore however, having inspected the premises and the body of the girl had noted that ring and a phone worth Rs. 17, 000 were missing. He also noted the girl was wearing a pair of trousers that were different from the one she had been wearing in the morning, when her mother left the house. Only then was it presumed this was not a suicide, but a cold blooded murder.

Harishnavi's body was taken to Vavuniya Hospital for postmortem. Medical Officer J. C. Samaraweera who conducted the postmortem confirmed the girl had been raped, choked and hanged.

Evidence showed that the girl had fought her rapist(s) to protect herself. The case was handed over to the CID. MPs, PC Members, school students and the public participated at the funeral of the girl.

There are several leads to the murder. The concern of many is that the police should arrest the suspect(s) soon and bring them to book so that henious crimes like this are no longer committed in our motherland. 

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