Slippery situ over grease yakas

Police ordered to get tough; five killed and 47 arrested
By Leon Berenger

Defence authorities have ordered a crackdown on vigilantes hunting down the so-called “grease yakas’ after five people were killed and several wounded in the ongoing drama which has reached such disturbing proportions that leave for policemen in the east has been cancelled with immediate effect.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Pujith Jayasundara said the situation had gone out of control and stern action would be taken against those found taking the law into their hands. He, however, conceded that the police must share part of the blame.

“These so-called “grease yakas do not exist but the scare has been built up by different persons and groups with ulterior agendas. These persons include illicit gem miners, loggers, poachers, thieves, perverts and to a lesser extent common pranksters,” DIG Jayasundara told the Sunday Times.

He also said senior police officers in the affected areas had been ordered to fan out into the villages and allay their fears. “This is something that should have happened in the first place. But it was not the case, and as a result

the problem was allowed to develop into a full blown crisis, causing deaths, hatred, fear and a lack of trust in the police,” the DIG said.

He said senior police officers had also been requested to work together with religious heads and form committees with respected elders and other individuals. “The fear needs to be overcome and everyone should work towards this end,” he said. The DIG said so far 47 persons involved in this scare drama had been arrested.

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa also warned people against taking the law into their own hands, adding that the police must also take part of the blame for the current situation. Meanwhile tension was running high in Pottuvil in the Amparai district yesterday after one man was killed when police were forced to open fire on an unruly mob that had begun to stone the local police station.

The protesters were demanding the release of three persons taken into custody on Thursday night. They were a part of a larger group that had attacked a group of army and police personnel who were mistakenly thought to be night stalkers or “grease stalkers”.

Meanwhile two men were hacked to death inside a tea estate at Haputale after they were suspected to be grease yakas while another youth was electrocuted while giving chase to a suspicious person in Kandy. Another man was hacked to death by a woman at Amparai after he tried to pull a “grease yaka” scare on her while she was sleeping at her home.

DIG rushed to the East

A senior police officer was yesterday rushed to the East following protests and mounting tension at Akkaraipattu and Pottuvil after a man died in a police shooting. DIG Pujith Jayasundara was sent from Kurunegala to defuse the situation in the area, officials said. DIG Jayasundera had been successful in arresting the serial killer who hacked to death three women on an estate in Kahawatte early last month.

Here is an alleged grease yaka

Police in Sigiriya yesterday arrested a man who, according to them, fitted the description of a grease yaka.

They said he was wearing a balaclava (face hood) and a pair of gloves and had applied grease on his body.

Among the items found in a bag he was carrying were women’s underwear, the police said adding they were conducting further investigations.

Pic by Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa

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