By Saman Indrajith
Women and children in the Northern Province were being exposed to a sinister racket of producing rape films sponsored by members of the same community who were resident abroad, JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake, yesterday, told parliament.
Participating in the Committee Stage Debate of the Appropriation Bill 2019 on the Ministry of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development, Vocational Training and Skills Development and Youth Affairs, MP Ratnayake said that there was now a ‘rape film industry’ in the area.
“This is a tragedy. I think you all can remember the rape and murder of a school girl in Punguduthivu. That was not just a rape. The rapists filmed the brutal incident and they got paid for that similar to what is happening in the Northern Province and it is an open secret now. The real tragedy is that the racket is sponsored by the members of their own community who live abroad and return to the country, occasionally. They pay maniacs to rape women and children and to film those savage incidents. Then they sell those video tapes for large amounts of money.”
MP Ratnayake said the government’s definition of a ‘war widow’ was erroneous.
“It is recorded that in the North there are 90,000 widows and 38,000 of them are in Jaffna. When I consulted a women’s activist in the area she said that at least 50,000 of them are below 40 years of age. They are undergoing great hardships and sexual harassment daily. During the years of the bloody war men and women got married when they were very young, many of them were just teens to avoid being conscripted by the LTTE.
“Now, the government says that a war widow is a person who has lost her husband during the war and is entitled to state assistance. It could be a militant or other person. Let me point out the errors in this definition. Some of these widows got married during war; they did not have time to sign papers. Therefore, they did not have government documents to prove that they were married. The same goes for divorcees.”
These definitions should be changed because the actual female headed households in the North might increase by more than 30,000, Rathnayake added.
Furthermore, alcoholism, sexual abuse, domestic violence and poverty were high in the North, he said.
“This is because the government did not have a plan to address social and psychological issues of the people living in war torn areas. At least from now on the government should set up a special task force and pay extra attention to social and psychological problems of these people.”