Now Karuna group collecting taxes from Sinhalese
Clashes between the LTTE and the Karuna faction in the Polonnaruwa district have prompted the District Secretary to demand more security for Sinhala villages.

The latest incident took place on Friday when five members of the Karuna faction were killed and two injured in Soruvil close to Dimbulagala. At least 30 persons have been killed in the district, bordering Batticaloa during the past two months. District Secretary Ranjith Wijetillake said that in the wake of a spate of internecine clashes between the two groups, he had asked the security forces to step up security in the district.

The demand for increased security comes amidst reports that LTTE cadres and Karuna faction members were seen freely moving in the government-controlled areas while a section of the Karuna faction were demanding 'taxes' from villagers, mostly Sinhalese.

Mr. Wijetillake said that in view of the presence of both factions there was a serious threat to civilians in the district. Acting Defence Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake told The Sunday Times yesterday that he was awaiting a report from the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) on Friday's incident before taking a decision on further security measures.

Soon after Friday's incident the police and the army started joint mobile patrolling in the Manampitiya, Welikanda, Aralaganwilva, Dimbulagala and Soruvil, SSP M.J. Savangan said. He said the incidents were taking place in the interior, but the patrols were aimed at protecting the villagers.

Earlier this week, the Karuna group had conducted a meeting in the Soruvil area and told civilians that they would have to follow certain instructions issued by them. They included payment of 'taxes', restrictions on brewing illicit liquour, maintaining proper fences to prevent land disputes and measures on preventing disputes. Villagers have informed the police about the movements of both LTTE guerrillas and Karuna faction cadres in the area, and complained that so far no serious action had been taken to check their movements.

Scandinavian monitors yesterday said they were conducting inquiries into Friday's incident and were visiting the area at the invitation of the Government.

Top  Back to News  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.