Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Armed groups in the East?

Army says ‘no’, TNA says ‘yes’

by Fahad Al-Harim, The Nation, Colombo, August 5, 2012

Meanwhile, it was only last week that the Polls Chief, Mahinda Deshapriya, had requested the Inspector General of the Police to recall all fire arms issued to political parties and individuals in the region.

As the election fever heats up in the Eastern Province, reports of paramilitary groups operating have surfaced and the military vehemently denies such reports, while the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) makes such claims.

There are no armed groups in the East, as well as any paramilitary groups, stated Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, the Sri Lanka Army Spokesperson.

Only the armed forces, police, and Civil Defence Force personnel are allowed to possess firearms in the area, he stated. Anyone else discovered to possess illegal firearms will be arrested, the Brigadier added.

However, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian, Suresh Premachandran, reiterated that paramilitary groups were in operation, and in particular, Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), headed by Pillaiyan, still carry out threats and sabotage in the area. As a result, several TNA candidates had pulled out of nominations due to threats on their lives, alleged Premachandran.

Tar was poured on a TNA candidate’s house in Batticaloa, and barred to prevent him leaving, he said. Even though complaints were made, the police are yet to start any investigation, he stated.

Meanwhile, it was only last week that the Polls Chief, Mahinda Deshapriya, had requested the Inspector General of the Police to recall all fire arms issued to political parties and individuals in the region.