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