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Tamil schoolgirl raped and murdered in Mannar, locals launch protest

Protests have been held in Thailaimannar in front of the Mannar Magistrate Court by residents calling for justice to be swiftly delivered in the case of 10-year-old Yasi Warnakulasuriya who was raped and murdered, 300 meters away from her home in Urmanani. 

Preliminary investigations led police to arrest a 52-year-old suspect from the Kuchchaveli area. The suspect also confessed to the murder. On Monday (19), the Mannar Magistrate that the person arrested in connection with the rape and murder be remanded until the 29th of February. Initially, the suspect was detained only for 24 hours for questioning. It was on this day that protestors demanded justice be delivered. 

The body of 10-year-old Yasi was found 300 meters away from her home in a coconut plantation. It was reported that the grandmother who was looking after the child had lodged an entry at the Mannar police station when the girl failed to turn up after leaving home. The suspect who was arrested confessed that he had seen the girl playing with her brother and had lured the girl by telling her that he was taking her away to the shop. Police said the suspect was under the influence of alcohol during the time of his arrest. 

Protestors demanded that justice be delivered without delay. Protestors held photographs of the young girl and slogans demanding justice. 

The selling and use of drugs and alcohol across the North-East have been rising since the end of the armed conflict. the former Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran stated in 2015 that Tamil youth are being pushed into drugs with the help of the Sri Lankan military and in recent years high profile arrests of Sri Lankan military and Police for drug possessions are common. Last year over a dozen Sri Lankan police officers from the country’s Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) were arrested for their alleged involvement in an illegal drug ring. Speaking in parliament last year, JVP MP, Vijitha Herath, claimed that the murder of Makandure Madush, a notorious drug “kingpin” who was under police custody at the Maligawatte Housing complex, was done to protect 80 politicians complicit in drug trafficking. The rise in drug use and trafficking is alleged to have been connected to senior Sri Lankan politicians.

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