| by Our Special Correspondent in Colombo
(December 15, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Rev. Sr. Mary Eliza who was the first MC Sister to be imprisoned in the whole world, since Blessed Mother Teresa started the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Charity, serving the poorest of the poor, set free without any charges by the additional Magistrate Yvonne Fernando today. Also ordered with the release of Sister Mary Eliza, her passport and all documents of the “Prem Nivasaya Children” s home seized by the NCPA for investigations purposes. Sister Mary Eliza, who had been arrested in connection with the failure to disclose an underage pregnancy at a mother and baby shelter, was present at courts today.( December 15)
The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) stated that the children at the home were adopted locally and by foreign nationals “legally”, when the complaint filed against the mother and baby shelter on child trafficking charges were taken up for hearing today.
|Mother-General of MC Sisters Mother Prema greeting Sr. Eliza who was released from Rawathawatta Prem Nivasa Case|
The CID further informed the Magistrate’s court that there were no illegal activities had taken place at the said ‘Prem Nivasaya, Rawathawatta Home’, at Moratuwa in Sri Lanka run by MC Sisters. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) conducted an investigation on this charge through CID Officers and submitted their report to the court today.
According to the report submitted, children were adopted following legal guidelines and had been carried out “only” through the court. The CID informed court that If children at the home had not been registered, it was due to the lack of correct information regarding the children.
The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) informed the court that the Attorney General has advised for the release of the sister.
Senior Lawyer Neville Abeyratne made his submission today, that the way the National Child Protection Authority handled this complaint was very pathetic as before initiating the investigation, the Chairperson of the Authority had given the details of the matter to the Media for publishing. Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity are involved in this kind of humanitarian work. But NCPA had given misinformation to the media that the Sisters are involved in selling children. He further said that the CID has revealed everything, inside story of the Prem Nivasaya Rawathawatta Home, clearing the name of the MC Sisters who runs the Home.
Very Rev. Sr. Prema MC, Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of Charity (Mother Teresa’s Sisters) arrived on 27th Nov. in Sri Lanka, having heard that one of her Sisters, Sr. Eliza had been arrested by the Police and put her in the Weliikada Prisons. His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo received her at the Katunayake airport. His Eminence conveyed that the Sri Lankan Catholic Church is deeply concerned about the arrest of Rev. Sr. Mary Eliza and the way National Child Protection Authority and the Police has acted to find out information about “Perm Nivesa”.
On 23rd Nov. a team of National Children Protection Authority (NCPA) Chairman, Ms. Anoma Disanayaka along with some police officers had started investigating the children and mothers present in the Rawathawatta House, run by the Missionary Sisters. On 26Th night, police arrested the Superior of the Perm Nivasa, Sr.Eliza and two other sisters of the house, but when produced before the magistrate, Sr. Eliza was remanded until December 1, 2011 and put on Welikada Remand Prison and the other two sisters were relased.Sr. Eliza was not allowed to take legal redress by keeping a lawyer when she was produced at the Magistrate’s bungalow in the night.
Rev. Sr. Johannes MC, Provincial of the Missionary Sisters in Sri Lanka, said that NCPA has closely working with the Prem Nivasa sisters re, children in the house to take care of them, and also have received relevant permission of the Department of Probation to look after these children. “We never involve in selling these precious lives of the children and never take money for any of our work. According to the laws of the country, children are given for adoption only through a legal procedure, but never sell their lives. Our sisters have asked permission of the prison officers to allow food to be given from the convent for remanded sister , but it was turned down and the sister is also put into the common apartment along with the other remand personnel. She further said.
The CID officers and Media went to “Prem Nivasa” on suspicion that they are engaged in child trafficking after receiving an anonymous tip via an emergency hotline. Some media reported that the Sisters have been selling children and one news paper published an article accusing the Rev. Sisters of selling the future of the country to foreigners for few thousand rupees. Through that article the writer is trying arouse the feelings and anger of the ordinary People.
Fr. Tyrone Perera, in charge of Rawatawatte, speaking to us said media reports to that effect were incorrect.
He said the place looks after, irrespective of religious and other differences, pregnant women, who had wanted to have abortions.
He said none of the children were sold, adding that adoptions are allowed with parents’ consent and through court proceedings only.
IGP N.K. Illangakoon has said that there are no indications that a children’s home at Rawathawatte in Moratuwa had conceal a child farm. He has told Neth FM Radio that no evidence has found so far to determine the place had sold small children as claimed, according to media reports from Srilankan Mirror on 26 th Nov.
Thousands of people were praying for justice and truth together with thousands of Missionary Sisters around the world. according to news published in international news agencies. The mission has seven more such places in the country – Shanthi in Matara, Apeksha in Galle, Daya in Kandy, Meth in Kurunegala, Karuna in Kurunegala, Anpaham in Vavuniya and Ataithillam in Jaffna., doing a noble service to the poor of the poorest people in Srilanka.
|Rev.Sr. Eliza who was released from the Prem Nivasa Case going out from Colombo Magistrates Courts|
|Some of Priests and Sisters present at the courts today when Rev.Sr. Eliza is released|