The rape and murder of Sivaloganathan Vidya: Justice Served – What We Know
Written by Lahiru Fernando
27 September 2017
The Sivaloganathan family, displaced from Pungudutivu in 1990 following the Civil War, ended up in Mallavi, close to Mankulam, Vanni.
Six years later on November 25, 1996 – Vidya was born at the Mankulam Government Hospital.
Initially, she attended Nallaru Vidyalayam. But that was only until grade 6. During 2009, the final months of the civil war, Vidya was studying in Colombo.
Meanwhile, her family was still in Vanni and were caught up in the brutal fighting. They ended up in the Menik Farm internment camps.
In 2010, Vidya and her family relocated to their native village in Pungudutivu where she became a pupil at Pungudutivu Maha Vidyalayam.
A young life, just 18 years of age, full of hope and aspiration, was brutally murdered while she studied for her Advanced Level examinations.
This girl showed promise and carried high expectations of her teachers for her academic career. Vidya was aspiring to become a teacher herself, or even enter the field of media.
Then on one dark and unfortunate day, Vidya met her untimely fate in a rape and murder which horrified the whole country.
A very straight forward young girl – is how her family described this young girl, who was known as someone who helps those in need.
Her friends spoke highly of this dedicated young girl who had a love of history, destined to enter state university.
This is the timeline of events leading up to today’s verdict on the rape and murder of Sivaloganathan Vidya.
May 13, 2015 – Vidya reported missing
7:30 a.m. – Sivaloganathan Vidya leaves home for school.
03:00 p.m. – Vidya has not reached home yet, so her brother goes to school to check. He is told that she did not attend school on that day.
06:00 p.m. – Vidya’s family filed a report with Police saying she is missing.
11:00 p.m. – Following hours of waiting, Police finally lodged the family’s complaint of missing Vidya.
May 14, 2015 – Body found
5.00 a.m. – Vidya’s brother Nishanthan and the family’s two dogs resumed the search operation for Vidya.
During the search, Nishanthan found the body of his sister, brutally murdered.
7.00 a.m. – Vidya’s brother called the Police in Kayts. However, the Police failed to arrive. Nishanthan resolved to calling 119 in Colombo.
11.00 a.m. – Police arrived.
Meanwhile, the incident caused massive public outcry as the news of the gang rape and murder began to spread.
Protests, which began in Pungudutivu, quickly spread to the following areas;
May 15, 2017
Vidya’s body laid to rest.
Three suspects arrested.
Sri Lankans far and wide expressed outrage on the day of Vidya’s funeral.
May 17, 2017 – More arrested
Two days after the initial arrest, five more suspects were arrested.
Shashikumar (Swiss Kumar) – one of the suspects was arrested in Colombo. He had attempted to escape, allegedly with the help of a Government Minister.
He is alleged to have filmed the gang rape.
May 20, 2015
Eight suspects were brought to Jaffna Courts. Over one hundred protestors among many, who demanded the suspect be handed over to them, were arrested.
May 21, 2015
A Hartal was carried out in Sri Lanka’s Northern parts as a protest against the murder.
Meanwhile, several senior police officers who were involved in the investigation were subsequently transferred.
The Police Investigation was then taken over by the Criminal Investigations Department.
May 23, 2017 – Two years on…
Three High Court Judges are assigned to the case at the request of Attorney- General.
The Judges were;
Balendran Shashi Mahendran – Judge of Vavuniya High Court
Annalingam Parame-Shankar – Judge of Trincomalee High Court
Manikkavasagarn Ilancheliyan – Judge of Jaffna High Court
June 28, 2017
Trial at BAR began.
Nine suspects were indicted on 41 counts including abduction, gang rape and being members of an unlawful assembly.
September 27, 2017
1.25 p.m. – 898 days later, Justice served for Sivaloganathan Vidya.
Justice for Sivaloganathan Vidya
The final verdict on the gang rape and murder Vidya was delivered at the Jaffna high court today (September 27).
Seven of the accused were given the death sentence for abduction, rape and murder of Sivologanathan Vidya.
The unanimous verdict was delivered at the Jaffna High Court by the three High Court Judges appointed by the Attorney General himself.
The accused in the case were brought to the High Court premises under heavy security.
Prior to delivering their verdict the justices granted an opportunity to the suspects to speak before the court.
The suspects took the opportunity to state that they were not guilty of the charges.
As the fourth accused in the case, Mahalingam Sasidaran declared in court that he is not guilty.
Vidya’s mother fainted in Court during the session.
The final verdict read that the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth accused in the case have been found guilty of the charges.
Thereby those sentenced to death are as follows;
Mahalingam Sashikumar (Swiss Kumar)
In addition to the death sentence, the convicted are also ordered to serve 30 years of rigorous imprisonment.
While the above seven are fined Rs. 40,000, the fourth and ninth accused were fined Rs. 70,000.
Failure to pay the fines would result in an additional four months being added to the prison sentence.
The three-judge bench also ordered the seven convicted to pay a sum of one million rupees (each) to the family of Sivaloganathan Vidya.
Failure to pay the amount would result in two years being added to the prison sentence.
The 1st suspect Bubalasinham Indrakumar and 7th suspect Rupasinham Kuganadan were released of all charges due to the lack of evidence which proved their actions beyond a reasonable doubt.
One of the most startling revelations of the case was that a Swiss mafia outfit had entered into an agreement with Swiss Kumar to create a sex tape involving an Asian girl.
Justice System should be commended
The actions of the justice system in dealing with malicious cases of this nature should be commended. Historical cases such as that of Premavathi Manamperi and Rita Jones are examples of such commendable verdicts.
The suspects attempted to wriggle out of numerous loopholes. However, all these attempts were prevented and verdict delivered by this bench will definitely go down in history.
Over the past few months Jaffna High Court Judge M. Ilancheliyan, Trincomalee High Court Judge A. Parame-Shankar and Vavuniya High Court judge Sashi Mahendran, as well as the CID and the attorney generals department worked tirelessly to ensure that justice is served. And justice has been served.
However Justice Ilancheliyan’s statement in court today revealed that it took two years for justice to be served.
Why? – due to the actions of a few police officers including former DIG Lalith Jayasinghe.