Major breakthrough in Kahawatte killings
In April last year, villagers of Niladura in Divulwela staged a mass
public protest by burning tyres on roads to vent their anger over the
inability of the Kahawatte police to solve the mysterious murders of
elderly women in their areas. Nine elderly women who lived alone at
their homes at Kotakothana-Divulgala, Opatha, Katange, and Niladura
villages were killed by sharp cutting instruments and their mutilated
bodies covered with clothes to conceal the wounds.
Following the upheaval in the village, several police and CID teams
began investigating the mysterious murders that led to the arrest of
several suspects linked to the killings. Following the arrests, calm
returned to the village.
Then came the killing of a mother and her young daughter, a
schoolgirl who were brutally stabbed to death while they were at home.
The killing took place on January 31. Police identified the deceased as
Nayana Nilmini (52) and her daughter Kavindi Chaturangi (18), a
schoolgirl of Fergueson College, Ratnapura. The mother and her daughter
were residents of Kotakethana, a hamlet in the Kahawatte area.
The mother too was a past pupil of the same school. Labourers picking
firewood at the Opatha rubber estate discovered the decomposed body of a
naked girl lying in an abandoned estate.
A Pradeshiya Sabha member telephoned the Kahawatte police and
informed them that Nayana Nilmini's body was found lying at her home at
When Kahawatte police rushed to the location, they found the naked
body of Nayana Nilmini lying on her bed covered with a bed sheet.
There were several wounds on her head and the body as well. She had
been stabbed to death with a sharp cutting weapon. It didn't take long
for the police to discover the bodies of the mother and the daughter.
They had been killed while they were at their home on January 31.
The killers thereafter had removed Chaturangi's body from home and
dumped it in an abandoned rubber estate at Opatha four kilometres away
from their home. The body was transported in a three wheeler, police
Several police teams including the Criminal Investigation Department
(CID) began investigating the brutal killings during the past few
months. Finally, the CID sleuths made a breakthrough when they arrested
a brother of a Godakawala Pradeshiya Sabha member and his wife along
with a three wheeler driver linked to the gruesome murder, last
wednesday, after painstaking investigations, said the police Media
Spokesman SP, Ajith Rohana when contacted by the Sunday Observer.
When villagers of Kahawatte learnt of the arrest they celebrated by
lighting crackers on the road and congregating in large numbers to show
their solidarity in the Kahawatte town.
The jubilant crowd then burnt tyres on the highway and marched
towards the Kotakethana village where they set ablaze a house that
belonged to the suspect's brother.
The crowd then proceeded to the ancestral home of the Pradeshiya
Sabha member at Kotakethna and set it ablaze. Thereafter, the crowd
marched towards Opatha town and set ablaze the three wheeler driverís
home as well.
However as the Kahawatte police could not contain the boisterous
crowd, the police Special Task Force(STF) Commandos had to be summoned
to maintain law and order.
The STF officers persuaded the crowd to disperse peacefully without
According to police sources, the suspect and his wife had gone to the
house of Nayana Nilmini's home on that fateful night and called for her.
When she opened the door she was set upon by the suspect and stabbed
When her daughter Chaturangi heard her mother scream and rushed to
the door she too was stabbed to death by the same man.
Thereafter they took the daughterís body in a three wheeler and
dumped it at an abandoned estate at Opatha.
The motive for the killing both the mother and the daughter was
because they were aware the suspect was linked to the heroin trade.
The suspect and his wife feared that Nayana Nilmini would inform
police of their links to the drug trade.
Nayana Nilmini was an attractive woman. Her husband was employed in
Colombo doing odd jobs. She had a son Chaturanga Sellaheva (24) and a
daughter Kavindi Chaturangani (18) by that marriage.
Her son was employed in a private company in Colombo while the mother
and the daughter lived at their village home. Their home was thoroughly
neglected due to the meagre income they received from the sole
breadwinner of the family.
At a media briefing held last year, IGP N.K. Illangakoon said that
steps were taken to arrest the suspects linked to the mysterious
killings at Kahawatte to dispel fears and to restore law and order in
the Kahawatte area. He said five murder cases had been solved with the
arrest of the suspects.
Kahawatte came to the spotlight following the killing of seven women
in the area from 2008 up to 2011.
The first murder was of a woman aged 56 at an estate in July 2008.
The second murder was of a 52- year- old woman, committed in November
2008. The third murder of a 47 year old woman was committed in April
2010. In the same year an 80 - year- old woman was murdered in December.
Thereafter a 66 year old woman was murdered in April 2011. On May 31,
2011 an 85 year old woman was murdered. On June 19,2011 a 48 year old
woman at Niladura Khawatte was murdered.