(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.