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BURIED: Roshni Pertabsingh

ROSHNI Pertabsingh called Indira, the 16-year-old schoolgirl raped and killed last week, was buried Sunday afternoon at PlantationWarren cemetery, Corentyne, Berbice, a few yards from her home.

The burial followed a highly emotional service at Nazarene Church where she read the scripture lesson three days before her brutal slaying.

The girl was a night companion to her elderly neighbour, Budhia, in whose house she was raped and her throat slit.

People close to her said the girl had been a virgin when the murder took place during the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

Speakers at the service all agreed that justice must be served and have expressed optimism that whoever perpetrated the hideous crime would be arrested and prosecuted.

The victim’s class teacher, Ms Yonette Pluck told the funeral gathering, which overspilled the church building with persons from all strata of society and different races, that Roshni was a pleasant child.

Pluck said that, because of financial constraints, the Form 5A student was unable to attend school regularly, sometimes two or three times a week, but whenever she did, the teacher would allow her extra time in the library to document the missed lessons.

Like others who paid tribute to the girl, Pluck, too, committed herself to helping the surviving family.

The eulogy was read by Naomi Christie, a fifth former of New Amsterdam Multilateral School, also in Berbice, who highlighted Roshni’s involvement in church-related activities as a member of Nazarene Missionary International and a Sunday school teacher.

Christie recalled that it was just the Sunday before her death that Roshni stood at the pulpit and read that day’s scripture lesson for the children’s day programme.

In addition to her involvement in the Nazarene denomination, Roshni was a member of the President’s Youth Award Programme and participated in two expeditions to Linden and Black Bush Polder, coordinator, Ms Nicola Morris stated.

Roshni received the bronze medal from President Bharrat Jagdeo at the National Cultural Centre in Georgetown after the first outing, Morris reported.

She said the other expedition on upper Corentyne earned Roshni a silver medal and that was given to her mother who was overwhelmed with emotion.

There was no vacant seat in the church nor was there a dry eye during the proceedings as mourners openly voiced their opinions about the investigations into the crime.

Earlier, prior to the arrival of the body at the church for the three-hour programme, hundreds of people converged at the home of the murdered girl’s parents to offer words of comfort and sympathy.

However, some in the crowd did not have similar sentiments for the old woman with whom the teenager stayed at nights and the 65-year-old did not respond, only grumbling a few words that were not audible to others, on occasion.

Reverend Bahase Harripaul and Gainlall Hitnarine officiated at the service that included songs and poetry and among those in attendance were Regional Education Officer, Ms Shafiran Bhajan and Headmistress Patterson of Berbice Educational Institute. (JEUNE BAILEY VAN-KERIC)

Guyana Chronicle