Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sri Lanka MPs to probe 'grease-devil' violence

Puttalam town on Monday (Photo: Prasad Purnimal Jayamanne) A military brigade has been established in the town of Puttalam after a policeman was killed on Monday

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Sri Lanka is to set up committees led by MPs to probe a wave of vigilante violence, sparked by a fear of night-time prowlers known as "grease devils".
President Mahinda Rajapaksa says committees led by government MPs will work with police to tackle the problem plaguing rural areas in Sri Lanka.
The "grease devils" have been accused of assaulting women at night in recent weeks. Residents have accused the security forces of involvement in the attacks.
The police have denied any wrongdoing.
But there has been a wave of retaliatory attacks and vigilante action in the areas affected by the night-time prowlers.
In the northern town of Jaffna, dozens of people were detained on Tuesday in connection with reprisal violence over the "grease-devil" scare - but there are conflicting accounts of the circumstances which led to the arrests.
On Monday, a policeman was killed by residents in the town of Puttalam and there have been violent clashes elsewhere.
Most of the attacks have taken place in rural Muslim and Tamil-majority areas in northern and central parts of the island.
Residents have accused the police of releasing suspects captured by townspeople without charge.
Police have told the BBC that all such allegations are baseless.

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