Jaffna District Secretary (Government Agent) N. Vedanayagam has said that the latest incident of gruesome rape and murder of Punkuduthivu school girl S.Vithya had occurred barely a month after he, in a report, urged the police chief of the region to urgently address this alarming trend.
Most shocking menace among them is school children fast becoming addicted to drugs and banned substances that are freely available for sale, especially near schools and educational institutions.
According to Colombo-based Sunday Times, the Jaffna District Secretary’s report to the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police for the north has described schoolchildren’s new found addiction to drugs and banned substances as a “well-planned strategy” aimed at disrupting the social fabric of the north.
Drawing the attention of the police to illegal liquor sales that “continue unabated” in many areas in the district the report, which was the outcome of a discussion held by the Jaffna District Child Development Committee, has noted that schoolchildren “under the influence of drugs and alcohol turn violent and are involved in crimes”.
“The report names schools, locations and villages vulnerable to the drug menace. Four of the schools named are leading schools in Jaffna. The post-war Northern Province has become a hub for illicit drug trade,” the newspaper report said.
Civil Society activists have said that the popular drugs in the area are the Kerala ganja and the cannabis-mixed arecanuts.
Claiming that most of the drugs come through the coastal Mathagal area, they have said that the drug dealers carry out their business at eating houses near schools.
Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the All Island Teachers’ Association, has also blamed the police for the worsening crime situation in the peninsula.
“Recently at a village level meeting, several women organisations and Pradeshiya Sabha representatives identified areas that had become vulnerable to anti-social activities. They brought this to the notice of the police but little or no effective action was taken,” Joseph Stalin has been quoted as saying.
Taking part in a private TV discussion, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran also expressed serious concern about the increase of drug addiction, sexual abuse and crime rate in Jaffna in the recent past.
She said that the safety of women and children were fully guaranteed and that the women could walk on the streets fearlessly even in the middle of the night when the area was under the control of the Tamil Tiger rebels, who were militarily defeated in May 2009.