Crime rising in SLA held areas

[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 November 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The Batticaloa town has recently been hit by a spate of daylight robberies. Residents are greatly alarmed that the robbers are operating with absolute immunity in the high security zone of the town.

Many suspect the hidden hand of the dreaded Razeek group which works for the Sri Lankan army. Army and Police checkpoints saturate the town and all it entrances.

The robbers have targeted houses which are locked during daytime as all occupants are at work and at school. Jewellery and cash valued at several million rupees have been robbed in recent weeks.

No action has been taken by the Police.

On Friday Nov. 14, civilians in Koolavady, a suburb of Batticaloa town, gave chase and caught a thief who had snatched a gold chain from a woman on the road in broad daylight.

The thief was identified as Vadivel Somasunderam who was once a member of the TELO. He was known as Vellai formerly and was a body guard for a TELO parliamentarian, Govindan Karunakaram (alias Jana).

Vadivel Somasunderam is currently a member of the Razeek group which in recent times has been responsible for a number of extortion and murder cases in the Batticaloa district.

Razeek was a senior member of the EPRLF and led an assassination unit under the IPKF known as the Mandayan group.

It is widely believed that Razeek is still very much part of the EPRLF.

The organisation, however, issues lame denials whenever the link comes in for public criticism.

The group runs a camp in the Batticaloa town with about 150 members in what was formerly the residence of Parliamentarian Sam Thambimuthu.

About 120 of these draw salaries as full time soldiers of the Sri Lankan army.

The group operates under supervision of the local unit of the Sri Lankan military intelligence.


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