Ishalini’s mother, brother testify

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The brother of the girl who died under mysterious circumstances while serving at MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence last year, said he is of the view that some trouble had occurred to his sister at the MP’s house and that she had lost her life due to fear that the ordeal she suffered would be exposed upon returning home.

The post-mortem inquest into the death of the victim, Ishalini, was convened before the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday (20) and the latter’s sibling Vigneswaran Thiru Prasad, made the aforesaid remark while testifying.

Continuing to testify, the witness stated, “My sister was employed at the Bauddhaloka Mawatha residence of MP Rishad Bathiudeen. During this period, she had rung my mother and told her that she has had put up with many hindrances, while serving there. On 3 July last year, my mother received a phone call from the Borella Police. They had informed her that my sister had been hospitalised. Then I dashed off to the hospital to see her but I was not allowed to do so.

On the 15th of that month, my sister died. My sister died due to burns she had suffered after being set alight. When my sister had informed my mother, that she was facing troubles at the house, my mother had told her that she will take her home on 6 July last year. It was during that time period, that my sister had suffered burnt injuries on 3 July. I think my sister had suffered her plight, due to the extreme fear of those in that household, that she would reveal the ordeal she has had to put up with in the house, in the event of her returning home. I have also given a statement to the Police in this connection.”

Afterwards, the mother of the deceased, Raja Manikkam Ranjani, testified before Magistrate Jayasuriya and stated, “During the time that my late daughter had served at the house, she had conveyed to me that it was becoming quite impossible for her to be employed there. When she spoke last to me, I advised her to stay there and that I will arrive to pick her up. It must be mentioned here that since my late daughter went to work in that house, she had never returned home even for a holiday.

Even we had not gone there to look into her wellbeing. It was only after this incident, that we came to know, that she had been hospitalised having suffered burnt injuries. Accordingly, we went to see her at the hospital. When we went there, we saw her being fixed to a machine, but she succumbed to her injuries on 15 July 2021. I did not attend the post-mortem. I can recall that my daughter left our home in a healthy state. Hence, I still cannot comprehend how she had to face up to her terrible predicament at that house. They say that she had been set alight or burnt alive. But, I do not know, how that could have happened. During her time at our home, my daughter never had an affair with anyone.”

Afterwards, testimony was also given to Court, by an uncle of the deceased, while further hearing of testimony into the death of the victim, was put off to 4 October.

By Hansi Nanayakkara