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Because of false AIDS fear ... family cornered from society!

Because of false AIDS fear ... family cornered from society!

News of an instance where a family in Galewela area has faced a problematic situation because of accusation that they had contacted AIDS is reported. This injustice has happened as a result of the lack of knowledge of the villagers as having understood a disease in the skin as AIDS. 

As six sisters of the same family who live without their father and mother have been isolated from the school in the village where they live have broken down in tears and beg to mete out justice in the
eyes of society. When these six daughters living in Galewela, Aluthgama, Nirangamuwa having been subjected to social injustice had been on the verge of committing suicide when a doctor in Dambulla hospital has taken steps to inform the media about this situation. 

There are three daughters of schoolgoing age in this family and they say with tears in their eyes that teachers in the school where they are studying have taken steps to remove them from school. As they have been cornered to the extent that they are not able to get some water from a well, buy some items from a shop and in hiring a three-wheeler and in fact not able to come forward in society they say that they are undergoing serious mental pressure. 

"I went in search of the house where these daughters were in Galewela, Aluthgama, Nirangamuwa. These six daughters live all alone in a small room with a small child of one of the daughters amidst severe financial difficulties. Their father has some years back had fallen into a well and died while the mother has gone abroad and is involved in caring for their well being,they told. A daughter in this family by the name of Shalani Piyatissa has gone abroad some years back in order to keep home fires burning and she has returned to the island nine months ago because of a skin ailment, they say. While she was being treated for it, their mother has gone abroad to keep the children alive. 

All three of them in their schoolgoing ages of 14, 13 and 8 had been studying at Galewela, Aluthgama Nirangamuwa Vidyalaya and gates of their school was closed on them. Thus under these circumstances they are by now confined to the four walls in their home. Because of taking treatment for the skin disease from which the 24 year old second daughter is suffering from, what has gone around the village is she has contacted the HIV virus and it has turned into an AIDS condition and that all other brothers have been infected by it. These people said that as a consequence of this gossip going round for several months they are undergoing grave difficulties in the process.The elder daughter is 27 year old Chithra Kumari. She is a mother of one child. When this rumour had been circulating her husband has left her and the child, she said in tears. 

Doctors at Dambulla basic hospital say that they are taking treatment at the hospital and that it is a kind of disease which is curable. But three children who have as a result of the harsh social punishment meted out to them have moved out from school. As a consequence they have had to lead a solitary life in their home. Not being able to bear up the torment imposed on them in not being catered to by shops in the area, prohibiting them from drawing water from a well, nobody speaking to them and in the least not allowing them to get into a vehicle ... this second girl though had tried to commit suicide she has because of cleverness of the doctors she is fortunate to be still among the living. Because of being subjected to social injustice for her and the small child, they had discussed about talking something about cricket, they told in tears. This family then pleaded in tears to bring about justice by drawing attention of the public for having rendered a complete family to a helpless situation simply because of a rumour circulating in a developed society such as this. 

On a question posed to principal of Nirangamuwa primary school Mr. Janaka Punsiri, this is what he said: "An elder sister of those three children has returned from abroad. We came to hear that she suffers from some disease. Because of the risk that it would create an infection on other children, I asked them to come to school taking treatment. But I didn't say that they have AIDS. Because I informed after telling the P.H.I. But a wrong rumour has gone around". 

- S. Karunaratna -

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