Paramilitary group member shot in Batticaloa
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 24 December 2002, 17:51 GMT]
M. Uthayakumar, 25, a member of the paramilitary Varathan group working closely with the Special Task Force, a paramilitary force of the Sri Lankan government, was shot today at 6:55 pm in Aaraiyampathy in the Batticaloa district, and is admitted at the Batticaloa hospital where he is undergoing emergency surgery and in critical condition, sources in Batticaloa said.
Uthayakumar was earlier in the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO). The TELO high command later expelled him, as he had been involved in several crimes in the area. He later joined the auxiliary group, which has been armed by the STF and is led by his brother Varathan, sources said.
When Mr. Uthayakumar was standing by the roadside, gunshots were fired and a grenade attack was made at him from a vehicle on the road by unidentified youths, said sources.
The Kathankudy police rushed to the spot and are conducting inquiries.
In recent months, in the Batticaloa and Ampara districts, members of Tamil paramilitary groups have been abducted or have gone missing. These groups allege that the LTTE is responsible for such incidents, but the LTTE has said they have no hand whatsoever in these incidents.
The public is of the opinion that at this time of peace talks, when the international monitors are present, the LTTE would not commit such acts in a way to sabotage the peace process. They suspect that the paramilitary groups are staging their own abductions or go into hiding in order to pass the blame on the LTTE and thus derail the peace process.
The Varathan group has been harassing the public in Aaraiyampathy and is said to be responsible for many robberies and murders in the area.