‘Awa’ has 62 members : 38 arrested ; leader Vinodhan incarcerated; all have money and first sword from Brazil- Sagala Ratnayake

(Lanka-e-News -18.Nov.2016, 3.35AM) The leader of ‘Awa’ group Kumares Rathinam Vinothan alias ‘Awa’ was arrested and remanded ,and of this group comprising 62 members , 38 of them have been taken into custody .However the 8  new leaders who have sprung up following the remanding of Vinothan have not been arrested , and the police are on their trail , minister of law and order Sagala Ratnayake revealed.

The firts sword used by this group was made in Brazil and was smuggled into Sri Lanka (SL) through India by a member of the group. Thereafter swords were made here according to  that model . The one who refused to turn this out  was cut and chopped , the minister further revealed.

The minister made these revelations when answering the questions posed by the opposition chief whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake in parliament 15th.

When the cabinet spokesman said, this Awa group was spawned during the Gotabaya era under  an army major general , this was rejected by others of the government who argued the Forces  had nothing to do with this group  whereupon Anura Kumara questioned , then what is the true position ? Since there were para military groups such as ‘Pra’ and ‘Cats’  created by the government’s forces at one time  , the people must be enlightened on this ,Anura Kumara insisted.

Anura Kumara asserted, since there were paramilitary groups of the government in the past  operating under names like ‘Pra’ and ‘yellow cats,’ the people  must be made aware of these developments.

The deputy defense minister Ruwan Wijewardena  who gave the answer first said , there are no two views , and cabinet spokesman minister  Senaratne did not say the army created such a group . Of those who are now in custody , so far only one member has been identified as having been in the forces , and he has now left the forces .However investigations are under way to ascertain whether others of the forces are linked to it. 

Sagala answering the question posed by Anura Kumara went on to  explain at length ….

‘I shall give answers to the questions of Anura Kumara . He is asking about the investigations conducted into these groups. During a festival at the Amman Kovil, Inuvel, Jaffna in 2011 , there was a clash between two factions. One group gathered together  in order to attack their opponents .

That group of youths got ready to indulge in hooliganism in Jaffna , and identified themselves as “Awa’ group.  Kumares Rathnam Vinodhan alias ‘Awa’ residing in Inuvel West in the vicinity of Amman kovil had been  functioning as its leader . He is now in remand. The majority of members of this organization are  in the age range, 18 to 25 years. The youths of this group have been engaging in robberies ; intimidating and assaulting  University students;  threatening businessmen and extorting money in the Jaffna peninsular in Kopay , Chunnakam , Chavakacheri , Manipay police divisions , as well as in the northern province.

At the outset this group had been displaying ‘heroism’ stemming form  their puerile mentality . In order to make an ostentation of their so called heroism , they have been attacking University students and people , according to information received. Owing to their activities the youths of destitute families have also been induced  to join in their so called ‘heroism’ and to make an exhibitionism among society .

In addition, there is data that during the past , these youths have committed crimes on contract basis , including extortion committed on businessmen ,  and so forth.  Members of this group have also been arrested and produced before courts on account of their crimes. There are instances in which  the courts have incarcerated them , while some were released on bail. Fines have also been imposed on them .

At the same time when these wrongdoers were  incarcerated they have befriended  most dangerous criminals , and when they came out , they have engaged in more  crimes jointly with the dangerous criminals.

This group of about 62 members have been identified , and 38 of them are now in custody . Investigations are on going against six of them . Against the other 32 , investgations have progressed   point of  courts action . Meanwhile a search is on against 8 supposedly main  leaders of  present time. There are new leaders because the old main leader is now imprisoned. This is the current situation.

These are not youths in society who are being led into  terrorism . They have a lot of money with them .It is our  view this group is receiving funds from the relatives abroad. Every one of them  has  a latest model motor bike.  The first sword from Brazil (or some country)  has been smuggled into SL via South India by a member of the group . Using this as a model several more similar swords have been made via  the blacksmiths in SL. There is  also a report that when a blacksmith refused to make the sword , he was cut and chopped.  Investigations are under way in this regard. 

I wish  to make special mention about  the member  of the army earlier referred to.  He is one who was serving in the electricity and mechanical   engineering regiment . He has not reported  for  duty  for many months.  That is, he is being treated  as an army deserter  by the army,’ Sagala concluded.