Fatal assault on Chilaw schoolboy still a mystery | Sunday Observer

Fatal assault on Chilaw schoolboy still a mystery

Police have arrested the three alleged assaulters and the family is still grieving the tragic loss of the promising 16 year old Mohammed Faizul, but nobody knows why his schoolmates bludgeoned him to death under the cover of darkness one night during Ramazan:

The Holy month of Ramazan is not all about fasting. It is also about community, fraternity and good conduct. The little village of Saravana in Chilaw was shaken by the vicious murder of a schoolboy, late into the fasting season, on June 10. If he had lived, his life may have been extraordinary, residents in the area and grieving family members believe.

Mohammad Faizul was a 16-year old with big dreams. He wanted to be an engineer one day. He was keen to lift his family out of poverty. Unlike most other young people, Faizul had been willing to share his successes with others, one of the main reasons for his appointment as Head Prefect of Saravana Muslim Vidyalaya, a leading school in the area.

Faizul who was reading for the G.C.E. O/L exam, focused on getting the best possible results that would enable him to move to a better school in Puttalam. “Umma I want to learn how to make a cup of tea. When I’m in the hostel I have to make my own tea,” he would tell his mother.

His dreams were shattered however, when three young boys in the same area brutally assaulted him to death one evening as he was walking home.

“I don’t know why they killed my son. He was very innocent,” said Faizul’s mother in an interview with the Sunday Observer.

The tragedy occurred around 10 p.m. on June 10. Faizul had been at the nearby mosque attending evening prayers and was walking home with his friend Arfath. Arfath was an eye-witness to the assault. He told Faizul’s parents that three boys from the same school had been lying in wait for their head prefect. When they saw him approaching, one of the boys switched off the street light, enveloping the area in darkness. The first beating missed Faizul and landed on Arfath’s hand. Faizul was examining the damage to his friend when the second blow fell. This time it did not miss the mark.

Faizul was knocked unconscious and fell on the ground. But the boy woke up in 15 minutes and walked to a relative’s house with Arfath. He told no one at the house about the assault. “Maybe, he was ashamed to say he had been beaten by boys who were junior to him in school,” said Faizul’s cousin Nuzaik, last week. A little while later, with support from Nuzaik and Arfath, Faizul walked to his own home. By that time he was screaming with pain and vomiting. The family rushed him to the Chilaw District Hospital, but with his situation getting worse, doctors there transferred the boy to the Colombo National Hospital.

At 4 a.m. the next morning (11), Faizul was admitted to the Coma Unit of the National Hospital. His CT scans showed severe brain damage and a clot in the brain. For seven days doctors fought to save the boy and finally thought they had succeeded and discharged Faizul to the care of his parents.

But disaster struck again on June 19, when Faizul had a massive seizure, indicative of serious brain damage. Soon he was back at the National Hospital Colombo and after another CT scan, medical professionals were beginning to lose hope. They told the family they could perform surgery on Faizul to try to save his life, but his chances of survival were less than 5 percent.

“His last request was for some apple juice,” says his cousin tearfully. “We knew he was dying so we gave him everything he wanted.”

The slain schoolboy’s mother Nameeza says, all that the family wanted was justice. “No mother can bear the loss of her child. He didn’t harm anyone. I hope no one else ever goes through such an encounter,” she wept. A.M. Anuz, a Mathematics teacher at Nasriya Central College Chilaw who is a cousin of the boy, says, he knew Faizul from his young days. “He wanted to become an engineer. I knew he would achieve that easily,” he said.

Faizul was well known in the little village for his studiousness and seriousness of purpose. Moulavi S.T.M. Nawab Jamali, of the nearby masjid, explains that he was also religious. “During the Ramazan season, he would even attend morning prayers at 1.30 a.m. No other child did that. His loss is a loss for this entire village and the country,” the Moulavi noted.

Police arrested the culprits of the assault and they remain in police custody. All three were students in the school that Faizul attended, but why they turned their ire on their head prefect remains a mystery to the family and the village at large.