Dear Mr. N K Illangakoon,

SRI LANKA: Girl student of Ambakotte Tamil Vidayalaya in Kandy was severely beaten by the principle and forced to return to school against her will

Name of the victim: Ms. Chandramohan Denusha of No: 01/B, Ambakotte, Kengalle in the Kandy District
Alleged perpetrator: The principle of the Ambakotte Tamil Vidyalaya school in Kandy
Date of incident: January 2012
Place of incident: Ambakotte Tamil Vidyalaya

I am writing to express my serious concern over the case of Ms. Chandramohan Denusha of No: 01/B, Ambakotte, Kengalle in the Kandy District. Denusha is a student at Ambakotte Tamil Vidyalaya. She is twelve years old and studying in grade 8 of the school. Denusha’s father has been in remand prison for the last six years without trial; she has a younger sister and her mother, M Dayamani, has no regular income.

Ambakotte Tamil Vidyalaya is a mixed school and there are 469 children. It offers classes up to General Certificate of Examination, Ordinary Level and employs 29 teachers.

According to Denusha the teachers, especially Mr. Sudakaran, the discipline master who is also the vice principal, punishes the children by beating them brutally. He does this is in blatant violation of Sri Lankan law which prohibiting corporal punishment in schools, remand centres and prisons. The principal of the school, Mr. S Rajendran also beats the children mercilessly almost every day. One of the students, S Kavitha, a student of Grade 8 who was severely beaten in the first week of January 2012 left the school because of the continuous beatings.

In January 2012, Denusha was severely beaten by the principle and as a result her left arm became swollen. When her mother questioned the principal he gave her oil balm, ‘Wintogeno’ as a treatment to apply. When Denusha refused to go to school the principal sent two masters to their house and they forcefully took her. If they did not receive the tacit approval of Denusha’s mother this is tantamount to kidnapping and it is believed that they did this in order to avoid any possible legal problems.

Denusha who is a very intelligent student, scored 132 at the year 5 scholarship exam and she fears that if she complains about the brutality of her teachers she will have to leave the school like Kavitha because the principal and the teachers would take revenge. This in itself is a common occurrence is Sri Lankan schools where the principals and teachers rule almost without control.

Her mother M Dayamani is even scared to go to the police as the police officers of Theldeniya have taken revenge from her husband by remanding him and delaying his trial which is a violation of his rights. Therefore she appeals for justice for her daughter.

I request your urgent intervention to ensure that the authorities listed below instigate an immediate investigation into the allegations of torture by the perpetrators, and the prosecution of those proven to be responsible under the criminal law of the country for misusing powers of state officers and for wrongful prosecution. The officers involved must also be subjected to internal investigations for the breach of the department orders as issued by the police department.

Yours sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes
William’s Desk

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