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Horrific activities of Eastern underworld

The post war situation in the east has apparently turned hostile, with the resurgence of the ruthless underworld group that has been dormant during the past few years.
The underworld group comprising a comparative group of young men, who are mostly school leavers or in some instance, students, have begun to consolidate their position following their mafia type of operations in the east.

They are young, energetic, sons of the elites and are highly influential.
Students from leading schools in Batticaloa, like St. Michael’s College, Methodist Central College and Shivananda College are the ones who have now got into this new profession.
They steal, slit throats, abduct children, kidnap women, demand for a ransom and are apparently throwing a huge challenge to the law enforcement authority.

The motive behind their operation is yet unknown. But the manner in which they carry out their operations have sent out clear messages to the civil society in the east, that they are a group that has missed something in their formative life.

Civil society activists have identified them as those who could not fit themselves into any of the terrorist or militant movements and the ones whose interests and aspirations have not been addressed to properly or met by, either the elders in the society or the authority.

Chilling

Abducting and later killing of eight year old Dhanushika Satheeskumar, in the heart of Batticaloa town, on April 28, was the group’s latest daring crime.
Groups that carry out abductions for a ransom rarely kill the captives immediately until their demand is not met. But this group had killed innocent Dhanushika instantly.

Dhanushika was a student of Kottamune Junior School in Batticaloa.
Her father Satheeskumar – a well known sportsman and instructor had gone missing about two and a half years ago. She was living with her mother and her sister, with the hope that her father would return one day.

However Dhanushika’s dreams were shattered when she was abducted on April 28, while she was returning home from school.
The captors had spoken to Dhanushika’s mother only the following day (29), demanding for a sum of Rs. 3 million.

During the conversation, there had not been any mention of her daughter’s release if the demand was met.
While the search for Dhanushika was in progress, the mutilated body of this girl had been found on May 2.

Forensic experts who conducted the investigation have meanwhile come to the conclusion that the girl may probably have been killed the day she was abducted.
Subsequently, a special police team that was dispatched from Colombo managed to shoot and kill three suspects.

According to the police the suspects were Mahesan Mayuran (24), Julian (23) and Janushan (22), all in their early 20s and school leavers.

Known as Theena group

To date, there has not been any investigation conducted to find out about the motive of this group, identified as ‘Theena’ group.

Theena, was a popular South Indian film that was released a couple of years ago, based on a fine story about changing a corrupt society. The story is all about transforming a fraudulent society into a decent and an acceptable one.

The objective behind the formation of the Theena group was therefore to function as catalysts in the society with the sole intention of correcting the wrongs.
One of the pioneering members of the group was Poovalapillai Prashanthan, who is the coordinating secretary to the present Eastern Province Chief Minister Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan.

He was also the President of the National Youth Federation and contested last year’s provincial council election and lost.
If the initial objectives of the Theena group were to correct the wrongs, unfortunately, the end was a total contradiction.
The group was only engaged in doing the wrong things, and further thriving on it, that later prompted people like Prashanthan to quit.
According to highly placed sources, the group has been misled and the group’s objectives distorted by one Varadan – popularly known as TELO Varadan.
Varadan was formerly attached to Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) and a notable mischief maker.

He was also later attached to the Special Task Force (STF) and was a prominent figure.
He was Theena group’s Ariyampathi leader in the Batticaloa district and has been noted for teasing young women and even raping them.
It is reported that he has even beaten and killed women when his requests for rapes had not been met.

With the original objectives of the Theena group getting distorted, decent and moderate leaders had later left the group, leaving the group in the hands of unruly and militant type elements, which to date, has been carrying out robberies, abductions and various other anti social activities.

Arrest of Prashanthan

The activities of the Theena group began way back in 1993, when the LTTE was fully active in the east.
The Theena group was conducting isolated operations without the knowledge of the LTTE.
But when the LTTE was officially informed of the atrocities of the Theena group, the LTTE later arrested Prashanthan for questioning.

Understanding and being aware of the objectives of the Theena group and the intentions of Prashanthan in forming the group, the civil society intervened and got Prashanthan released.
Having released Prashanthan, the LTTE warned the Theena group never to get caught doing wrong again.

This also prompted Prashanthan to quit the group and enter into local politics.
The Theena group further earned the wrath of the LTTE when in 2000, attacked the late Dharmaratnam Sivaram’s (alias Taraki) Thinakadir office.
Thinakadir was a Batticaloa based newspaper, edited by Taraki. The attack on the Thinakadir office, prompted the LTTE to severely warn Theena group not to cross its path.
This thundering warning of the LTTE sent the Theena group underground immediately and the group gradually dissipated.

Re-emergence

The Theena group that has been dormant due to pressure re-emerged after the LTTE was pushed out of the eastern province and after the local elections were held in the east – this time with new unknown young leaders.
It is reported that batches of school children had been taken away by this secret movement and there is, in fact, a significant recruitment drive the group is carrying out, even now.
It is also reported that many bright and clever students are increasingly joining this group, even abandoning their higher studies.

Mystery

Dhanushika’s father, Satheeskumar was a prominent sports instructor in Batticaloa.
During the 2002 ceasefire, the LTTE encouraged sports in the east and was willing to allocate funds for the same.

Even before the LTTE recognised sports as a recreational activity that would keep the young occupied, Satheeskumar had started several sports related activities, including workshops.
However, during the 2002 period he was forced to work in close relationship with the LTTE.
Meanwhile, the LTTE appointed one Madhi from Kalladi to be in charge of sports. Madhi was a wealthy man, without one arm due to military operation.
Madhi was working closely with the LTTE’s Batticaloa district political wing leader, S. Senadhipathi.

But during this period, Senadhipathi was assassinated and this brought the sports activities to an end in Batticaloa.
The killing also brought Madhi and Satheeskumar much closer.
However the break away of Karuna from the LTTE, then forced Madhi also to flee to the North.
Shortly after Madhi fled to the north, Satheeskumar had mysteriously gone missing. His whereabouts are still not known to anyone.

Rumour

A strong rumour doing the rounds is that Satheeskumar’s sister had been very angry with her sister in law (Satheeskumar’s wife) for selling Satheeskumar’s property, after he had gone missing.

Apparently, she has also had a share in the property owned by Satheeskumar.
It is now alleged that Satheeskumar’s sister may have influenced the Theena group to threaten her sister in law, in order to get her share of the property.
The rumour is that she had allegedly convinced the Theena group to abduct the child and demand for a ransom of Rs. 3 million from her sister in law, offering the group one million, if the mission was successful.

Parents devastated

The recent incidents have devastated the parents in Batticaloa and they are now appealing for help from the law enforcement authority.
The police are yet to conduct a proper investigation to find out the motive of this group and its activities that are daring.

Parents, the law enforcement authority and even the leaders in the society are all blamed for this development as they have failed to pay attention to the needs of the younger generation, while heavily concentrating only on the war.
Child psychologists say that a child’s need may be simple and small, but if ignored, they could become bigger and dangerous.

The members of the Theena group are not militants, fighting for a separate homeland but are showing signs of isolation and seclusion.
Especially former combatants have now become unemployed and are easily attracted to groups of this nature.

As the police have still not been able to ferret reasonable amount of information regarding the underworld gangs, it is high time that the relevant authority pays more attention to these needy youngsters, before it is too late.

 

 

 


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