Police crackdown on Jaffna underworld: 21-year-old leader among 13 arrested


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Acting on information elicited from an underworld figure in the North, police arrested 12 persons in a series of raids over the past 36 hours ending 6.00 am yesterday. It was the first major operation undertaken by law enforcement agencies in the Jaffna peninsula since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.

The Island revealed the existence of a Jaffna underworld in a lead story headlined UPFA constituent alleges escalation of robberies, violence in Jaffna on January 2.

Jaffna based sources said the Kopay police had arrested the 21-year-old underworld leader following a complaint received from a person living at Kondavil. Sources said that the suspect had, under interrogation, revealed the identities of those collaborating with him. DIG Jaffna Rohan Dias told The Island that Kopay police had arrested ten persons including the leader of the gang. According to him the Athchuveli police had taken three more suspects into custody as the police stepped up operations in the Jaffna peninsula.

DIG Dias said that the police were determined to crack down on the Jaffna underworld.

Sources said that at least one of the gang members was believed to have fled to India before the police operations got underway. The police are also looking for a woman and five other persons for questioning over their alleged involvement with the gang.

The police squads assigned for the operation took suspects in raids conducted in Kopay, Inuvil, Chunnakam, Kondavil, Manipay, Jaffna and Athchuveli.

The police recovered 12 swords, three knuckle-dusters, two hand grenades and six motorcycles.

Sources said that the police had recovered hand phones and CDs containing pictures of some of those now in custody. One video captured a person kneeling down before the gang leader while his associates looked on.

Police ruled out the gang’s affiliation to any political party or group operating in the Jaffna peninsula.

DIG Dias said that fresh instructions had been issued to the Jaffna police to step up operations against the underworld. Responding to a query, Dias said that the people had been reluctant to contact police fearing reprisal.

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