An standoff that erupted between the residents of Paa’naaveddi village and the occupying Sri Lanka Army soldiers of 51-3 brigade Saturday night was contained in the last minute from deteriorating into a blood bath by the intervention of community leaders and politicians, after the residents caught two armed SLA soldiers.
While the residents of the village situated in Tholpuram in Valikaamam West were chasing two alleged ‘grease devils’, two armed SLA soldiers emerged from the place where the ‘grease devils’ vanished. The two SLA soldiers were captured by the villagers and kept inside a house bound to ropes.
More than 1,000 residents gathered Saturday night against the Sri Lanka Army that demanded the residents to free armed SLA soldiers, who were captured by the residents in Paa’naaveddi of Tholpuram in Valikaamam West, Jaffna.
Within a few minutes of the incident, 300 to 400 SLA soldiers were deployed surrounding the protesters who were keeping the two soldiers in their captivity inside a house.
The commanding officer of the 51-3 SLA brigade threatened the protesters saying that he had received instructions from the military hierarchy to open fire at the gathering and ‘rescued’ the soldiers from the custody of the protesters.
However, when the SLA soldiers went further and ‘arrested’ 7 Tamil youths at the site, the residents were provoked and gathered in large number, armed with batons and clubs.
The standoff lasted till the youths were released on the spot as demanded by the protesters. A timely intervention by the efforts of the Tamil politicians of the TNA and the UNP contained the episode into becoming a bloody confrontation, sources in Tholpuram said.
SL ‘grease devils’ continue to appear in various parts of Jaffna despite the SL president Mahinda Rajapaksa claiming that there was no such threat as the culprits have been dealt with by his government.