Husband’s white van ploy backfires in wife’s killing
*Suspects apprehended due to timely detection by Security Forces
*Attempt to discredit Government thwarted
By Ananth PALAKIDNAR
With the end of the three -decade conflict, a large number of Tamils living abroad is arriving daily to see their native places in the Jaffna peninsula.
Most of the Tamil expatriates are returning to their birthplace to renew their relationship with their kith and kin and to assess the state of their assets which had due to the three- decades of terror that gripped the country.
The current influx of Tamil expatriates into the peninsula has created an atmosphere of family reunion and healthy interactions among foreign returnees and their friends and relatives in the region.
Unlike the other returnees, forty-two-year-old Selvathurai Kuhadhas came to his native home town Chavakachcheri in Jaffna a few weeks ago with an ulterior motive - to get rid of his ex-wife Shanthini who had divorced him in India, three years ago.
Kuhadhas and Shanthini have a fifteen-year-old son, Ruban who lived with his mother most of the time when his father was in Canada. Shanthini and her son Ruban were in South India until she got her divorce from Kuhadhas.
An alleged extra marital affair Kuhadhas developed with his brother’s wife’s sister, is believed to have led to the divorce between Kuhadhas and Shanthini.
Since the break-up of his marriage, Kuhadhas was planning to take the woman whom he was involved with to Canada.
A few weeks ago, Kuhadhas who is said to be a qualified engineer returned to Colombo from Canada with a malicious plan to fulfil his intention of taking the woman whom he was involved with him to Canada and to acquire the assets he and Shanthini owned before their divorce.
Soon after arrival in Colombo, Kuhadhas got in touch with a person called Raja who is alleged to have links with the underworld.
Driver of the white van, Raja
Kuhadhas’s plan to kill his wife was two-pronged. He had worked it out with his new-found allies in Colombo to execute it in such a way in order to get rid of his wife on the one hand and to create an impression on the other, that the killing was committed by the Security Forces, he used the `white van’ ploy to abduct Shanthini.
To go ahead with his plan Kuhadhas had hired a white coloured van bearing the number 253-3852. He obtained the van in Wellawatte, Colombo.
With the end of the conflict in the North certain vicious elements spearheaded rumours to discredit the Security Forces saying that `white vans’ were used by them to abduct civilians. However, the Security Forces Command in Jaffna had countered these vicious rumours on several occasions in the past and even apprehended criminals who were involved in criminal activity by creating an adverse impression on the Security Forces personnel in the North. But Kuhadhas who was not aware about the precautionary measures and the alertness of the Security Forces personnel in the North, embarked on his `crafty’ plan by using a `white van’ which he had hired from Colombo.
On that fateful day on March 6, Sunday he went to his ex-wife Shanthini’s house in Meesalai East in the Chavakachcheri district.
Kuhadhas got down from the van and dragged Shanthini and their son Ruban forcibly into the van.
Despite the cries raised by the neighbourhood, Kuhadhas’s `white van’ whisked the two victims and disappeared from the scene. The incident took place around 3.30 pm.
Shanthini’s neighbours who attempted to prevent the abduction had rushed to the Chavakachcheri police and made a complaint about the incident.
Police then alerted the 523 Brigade and got into action immediately along with troops of the Brigade.
Within a couple of hours, the Security Forces personnel were able to locate the place where Shanthini was hidden by Kuhadhas.
However, the Security Forces personnel were only able to recover Shanthini’s body which was brutally disfigured and partly buried in the compound of a deserted house near a temple in an isolated place called Kirampuvil in Chavakachcheri.
It has been found that Kuhadhas had used a bicycle chain to strangle Shanthini’s neck to kill her. Before strangling Shanthini, he had brutally disfigured her face beyond identification.
The Security Forces personnel and the police who continued with the search operation, later found Shanthini’s son Ruban at a lodge near the Jaffna Government Secretariat. The owners of the lodge who have been taken into custody have told police that Ruban was brought there by his father Kuhadhas.
Ruban, son of Kuhadhas and Shanthini
The Security Forces personnel who continued with the search operation later apprehended the suspect, the `white van’ he had hired in Colombo and its driver Raja.
The woman suspected to be involved with Kuhadhas has been apprehended by police and is in remand custody.
Meanwhile, District Judge of Chavakachcheri C. Ganesharaja visited the scene of the crime and ordered the suspects to be remanded till March 18.
Swift and timely action by the Security Forces have prevented the suspect fleeing from the Peninsula and thrashed the sinister motives of the suspect.
A senior attorney-at-law and first woman President’s Counsel in Jaffna, Ms. Shantha Abimanyu recently commenting on the present State of the social structure of the Jaffna Peninsula regretted that marriage and divorce rates in the region were now on the increase among young couples.
“We never heard of this in the past.
Jaffna was a highly cultured and conservative society.
The people were very spiritual, academically sound and did not give room to problems and divorce and separation were taboo sjubejcts.
Apart from the effects of the three decades of conflict in the North, foreign influence and new-rich tendencies have made inroads into the social structure of present day Jaffna,” Shantha Abimanyu said.
Reports from countries where Lankan Tamil expatriates live also indicate that the divorce rate and domestic violence among families were on the increase.
Some Civil Society members in the Jaffna peninsula commenting on last week’s horror in Chavakachcheri said that the incident had instilled fear on the social structure of Jaffna society which is likely to be influenced by the fast track lifestyles of these elements with all types of notoriety.