Posted by B.A. Prasad Fernando
In the village of Kahawatte in Ratnapura, 14 women have been murdered between July 2008 and July 2012. The latest killing was in July when the burnt bodies of two women were found in their house.
All the women were killed in a similar fashion, by a fatal blow to the head with a sharp object. Villagers talk of sightings of an unidentified man roaming the area. Others talk of a ghost.
According to a friend who lives nearby, nearly half the village has emptied. Some parents are keeping their children at home. The village go out only in groups, armed with poles or iron rods even in the daytime. They even sleep together in groups, for fear of the ghost. Women in the area have even asked their husbands who are working far away from home to come back and protect them.
Ratnapura is Sri Lanka’s center for precious gems and it is said that there are vast hoards of treasure hidden around the area. Legend has it that if someone finds some of this treasure and wants to take it, he has to offer a human prey to the ghost who protects it.
Hence the present terror about ghosts; people think that someone got away without making the sacrifice, so now the spirits are making it themselves.
I worry about the consequences of having such irrational ideology. There may be people who make use of this paranoia to justify their actions. A gang could create such stories to deflect public attention of public when they do kill people for money. It is said that all the murdered females owned land, property and gold.
Can anything be done to change this way of thinking? I don’t know. But meanwhile, the people of Kahawatte area spend every day of their lives in fear.
Perhaps this will help……