38 of the AAVA group in custody; No involvement of the military...

38 of the AAVA group in custody; No involvement of the military – State Def. Minister

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State Minister Ruwan Wijewardena has said that the AAVA is not a group steered by the military. The State Minister was responding to statement made by Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake in Parliament today. Giving his views Minister Sagala Ratnayake said that the leader of the AAVA gang comprising 62 members has been taken into custody.

Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that he wished to draw the attention of the House with respect to a problematic situation that has arisen due to the operation of a group called AAVA in Jaffna. He queried as to what information has so far been uncovered with regard to AAVA. He also queried as to why the Cabinet Spokesman had announced that certain members of the military are involved in this group.

State Minister Ruwan Wijewardena said that this is not a group steered by the military. However, there is nothing wrong with the statement made by Rajitha Senaratne. Of the first three members of the AAVA group arrested, one had served in the military. He said inquiries are in progress.

Minister Sagala Ratnayake said that after a brawl between two groups that happened during a ceremony in the Amman Kovil in Jaffna in 2011. One group had gathered as a team to attack the opponents. Thereafter these youths had been engaged in violent activities. Thereafter they had called themselves as the AAVA gang. Kumaresh Ratthinan Vinothan alias Aava, residing near the Kannai Amman Kovil had been serving as its leader. He is already in remand custody. A majority of its members are in the age group of between 18 and 25 years. Information had been received that later this group had been engaged in committing crimes on a contract basis. It has been identified that there are 62 members in this group. 38 of them have been arrested and inquiries are in progress with respect to six of them. Judicial action is in progress with respect to 32 of them. Operations are in progress to nab six of them considered to be key leaders.

He mentioned that they are not involved in terrorist activities. Their first sword has come from a member who had arrived in the island from South India. And several of them have been produced by local blacksmiths. One of the blacksmith’s who had rejected to produce such a sword is reported to have been killed. He mentioned that Minister Ruwan Wijewardene had responded about the military member.