Gotabhaya denies Govt, forces involvd in ‘Grease Devil’ menace

They take refuge in Police, Army camps – Mosque Fed.

by Zacki Jabbar

Amidst the death of two civilians and a policeman resulting from the ‘Grease Devil’ menace, the government yesterday denied that it or the security forces were involved.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, addressing a gathering of persons representing the Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Puttalam Mosque Federations, who were specially flown to Colombo, said that allegations being levelled against the government and security forces were baseless and the harassment of Muslims in the Eastern Province and Puttalam, was the work of certain bad elements living in the respective areas, who wanted to create chaos and stall the development process.

While admitting to having received complaints of Muslim women being scratched by the ‘Grease Devils’, he said that an inquiry would be conducted and those found guilty punished, but cautioned that it did not give the victims the right to take the law into their hands.

A special police team would be assigned to investigate, while the STF will be deployed to maintain law and order in the affected areas, Gothabaya said.

The Defence Secretary said that a policemen and two innocent civilians had been killed as a result of the disturbances and the extent of violence was not justified.

Responding to complaints that the Police had failed to act, he admitted that it was wrong for them to have neglected their duty and assured that the culprits will be found. However, civilians should not surround army camps, because it was a serious offence and the soldiers could react to the situation.

Representatives of the Mosque Federations alleged that the ‘Grease Devils’ having harmed women, took refuge in police stations and army camps.

An allegation that the culprits scratched women who do not eat pork, with a view to obtaining their blood to perform a pooja for President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was laughed off by Gotabhaya who said that if it was the case, he could offer his own blood for the purpose.

He also dismissed another theory that the ‘Grease Devils’ were searching for Dutugemunu’s sword as "funny" because history does not record him as having visited those areas.

The Mosque Federation delegations were led by M. I. M. Zubair from Batticaloa, Abdul Jabbar from Ampara and Jaufar Moulavi from Trincomalee, while the Sri Lanka Muslim Council delegation was headed by N. M. Ameen.

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