Disappointment For Voices Demanding Justice For Assaulted Female Staffer: RDA Chief Engineer Granted Bail

November 25, 2020

The Chief Engineer of the Western Province Road Development Authority (RDA) Udugampola office, who was arrested for assaulting a female staffer, has been granted bail by the Gampaha Magistrate's Court.

The Chief Engineer was released on two sureties of Rs. 200,000 each. However, his suspension will contiue pending a disciplinary inquiry into the matter.

The outcome at the Magistrate's Court today came as a disappointment for many who demanded justice for the assaulted female staff officer at the RDA office.

"There are glaring loopholes in Sri Lanka's legal system that are exploited by those who perpetrate violence against women. As a result, culprits responsible for these cases get away without punitive action. This is a good eye-opener for everyone in the government to address these issues," an Attorney at Law who is active on gender-based violence issues told Asian Mirror.

Gender activist and lawyer Aritha Wickremasinghe said last night that authorities should not stop at suspending the government official in question. “He should be arrested, prosecuted and jailed,” he said.

According to the video, the female officer had been assaulted for a minor delay in finding a telephone number for the Chief Engineer. She had apparently found the telephone number in five minutes but the senior officer had still assaulted her for failing to follow the order “in time.”

The female worker had been saved from the boss by some of her male co-workers who rushed to the scene. In the video she tells her coworkers that she has been continuously subjected to severe harassment by her boss.

Workplace gender-based violence is a serious issue that has been unadressed in Sri Lanka. The assault on the female RDA dtaffer is the second documented case of serious workplace harassment against women in a government office in two weeks. On an earlier occasion, a doctor at the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital said she was assaulted by her Consultant when was nine-weeks pregnant.

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