The `Karuna` faction is disrupting civil administration in Batticaloa by moving around with arms in Government controlled areas and intimidating civilians, urging them to report their problems to their political offices, and not to the police, sources in Batticaloa told the Daily Mirror.
Officials of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP), the political arm of the faction, were yesterday severely warned by the Batticaloa police to be mindful of their conduct, as any move seen as a threat to the security of the district, will be severely dealt with under the law, defence sources said.
`These cadres are attempting to sideline the police, by telling people to seek TMVP assistance and not the police. They cannot be allowed to do that,` the source said.
According to unofficial complaints made to the Batticaloa police, armed TMVP cadres reportedly entered hospitals, over the last few weeks, demanding ransom and intimidating civilians, despite the presence of Government troops nearby, police sources revealed.
Muslims in Kattankudy had lodged 18 complaints against the TMVP on Saturday alone.
They included assault, mischief, attempted murder and threatening a police officer, Kattankudy police sources told the Daily Mirror.
In what is seen as an attempt by Karuna Amman to establish his `rule` in Batticaloa, those seen as obstacle to his attempts, including political parties and independent Tamil newspapers which fail to carry TMVP propaganda, are also under threat or constant `Karuna` scrutiny.
The `Thinakural` and `Sudar Oli` Tamil publications have already been banned by the TMVP in Batticaloa and just last week, the two newspapers were also banned in Trincomalee, newspaper agents said, adding that the group was attempting to market its own newspaper `Tamil Alai.`
The Daily Mirror learns that immunity from Colombo is enabling the `Karuna` faction to escape the law and instill fear in the district, despite the Government insisting that `no one is above the law` and anyone found guilty of violating the law, will be taken to task.
`There is no special treatment for `Karuna`. No one is above the law. If they violate the law, they will be taken to task,` Government Defense spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwelle told the Daily Mirror, when asked to comment on the emerging concern over `Karuna` activities.
However, according to one source, TMVP cadres taken into custody for violating the law, are seldom produced before courts, owing to pressure from top Defense officials in Colombo, who seek Karuna`s indirect assistance to fight the LTTE.
The Daily Mirror also learnt that it was the `Karuna` faction which triggered tensions between Tamils and Muslims in Kattankudy, Batticaloa, and was also targeting Tamil civilians crossing into Government territory from LTTE controlled Vakarai.
`The situation is really getting out of hand. If the Government does not come down hard and control `Karuna` and their activities in Batticaloa, civil administration will be in disarray,` a top defense source told the Daily Mirror on condition of anonymity.
Some are of the view that Karuna Amman is attempting to follow the LTTE in Killinochchi, establish its own administration and law, thus ensure non interference in its propaganda activities.