Criminalising Victims: ‘Tamil Criminal Gangs’ in Post-war Sri Lanka

The gruesome murder of two students belonging to the University of Jaffna by the Sri Lankan state police forces brought to the fore the various stories that did rounds on the Tamil ‘criminal gangs’. This issue rather needs a deeper analysis.

The nations that have committed genocide are unable to continue the ethnic cleansing by overt means. So they employ covert tactics to accomplish their brutal task of destroying the ethnic identity of their adversary ethnic group. The worst are these tactics more often do not get recognized by the very victims.

Unfortunately, the victim nation, for some reasons, begins to believe that the tactics employed by the victors are for rehabilitation, reconstruction and development purposes. The people who point the real intent of the victor are ridiculed and painted as someone who is against meaningful rehabilitation. This in no way is the fault of the victims. It is the consequence of the psychological trauma the vanquished have undergone during those tumultuous war days. The crippled psyche of the vanquished makes them vulnerable to the systematic lies of the Genocidal states and the consequences are mere reflections of the uncertainty that befalls.

Brutal big lie

Precise means of seeding their dictum and ideology among the vanquished nation are absolutely known to the evil genocidal powers and as a matter of fact they do that with style and ease. The vanquished is psychologically attuned to consume their lies. One such lie is the popular story on the ‘criminal gangs’ in Post-war Sri Lanka. The posts on them and the perception we have formed around those stories is a brutal big lie.

In the above instance, the brutal murder of the students would have been one of the set agenda orchestrated by the genocidal state. The media as usual plays into the hands of the powers and covers the incident as an ‘accident’. We had to wait until next day to understand truth as it is.

Without comprehending the nature of such eliminations, certain media and some educated individuals talk about speed control on road, possibility of not having a valid driver’s license, driving in an inebriated condition, etc. They go to the extent of taking classes without getting to know what really has happened on the ground and unknowingly they end up twisting the tale. All these without an iota of doubt are fringe reasons. What we refuse to comprehend is the presence of the bloody hands of the Genocidal state in all such incidents.

Perspective of the oppressor

That is exactly how the Tamils view the background of ‘criminal gangs’ in Post-war Sri Lanka. We tend more to analyze these groups from our own perspectives and understandings but incidentally we fail to analyze them from the oppressor’s perspective. A rather larger perspective from where this entire issue should have been ideally analyzed.

A handful of them believe that this is a conspiracy hatched by the army. We need to feel happy that a limited understanding of that sort exists. But this may not be entirely true. It has something beyond. A streak of genocidal intent runs in the creation of the ‘criminal gangs’.

In the so called ‘post-war’ scenario, the genocidal powers not only continue with the policy of annihilating the race of the vanquished, they also have the wherewithal to handle (the term “handle” has to be understood in the context of genocidal intent) the victim race by engaging few within them. We can quote the example of “AAVA” group within the Tamil political leadership.

The victim race that has experienced destruction begins to forget the power that unleashed the very destruction on them as a consequence, and starts indulging in petty mudslinging among the various groups that have emerged among them after the war. Thereafter, the race that faces annihilation refuses to have a broader view on a given incidence or a circumstance, begins to lose their moral high grounds and starts to bicker among them. This bickering leads them to break loose and become disunited, only to eventually reflect upon a certain frustration among themselves.

Trapped in a quagmire

The oppressor is only too happy to exploit this impasse and frustration. Though we may have lot of contradictions among ourselves, it is to be mentioned that for a period well over seven year time, we were plainly unable to strike a middle ground. A middle ground, that can very well serve to connect us for a common good. We certainly cannot blame anyone for this reality. We are collectively responsible for this mess. We are not just the victims of genocide; but also victims of certain tactics employed by the oppressor. So it is going to be rather challenging to exit this quagmire.

To overcome this challenge, all we need to do is a single task. This task is a simple step forward. We are a race that has faced systematic destruction. We are a race that is facing tacit annihilation day-in and day-out. So it is imperative that we develop a sense of analyzing everything that happens around us, in this angle. That is the minimal understanding we ought to have to overcome this impasse.

We expect the media to put its first step forward in this direction. But that does not seem to happen as they do not seem to have any responsibility in that direction.

Let us get to the background of the ‘criminal gangs’.

AAVA Gang: Why now?

When a race becomes a victim in the game of war and has faced genocidal crimes, they pick up the thread of violence only to deeply embed within their psyche. This is the worst nightmare a race undergoes after facing a war of annihilation. An attempt to explain how this psyche manifests is something that cannot be put in words here. But it is imperative we understand the transformation that has occurred.

The victim race develops a kind of psyche where it dangerously begins to use violence against its own people. This result is because of the inability of the victim race to either confront their victors or confront the perpetrators of crime.

For seven long years, we are witnessing this psyche at play among us, we Tamils, as violence by individuals or assault groups. “AAVA” group is nothing but a recent phenomenon that has emerged from the shadows of this systematic campaign of violence by the genocidal power.

The double murder of Chengalladi, the spree of murders that started from the brutal slaying of Vidhya to the murder of Saranya, innumerable thefts, sex crimes, petty clashes, all are incidents of untold violence that have no precedence among Tamils in the past.

It is hard to believe that a force, an army that defeated the mighty Tamil Tigers who were known to even possess air capabilities, cannot control the daily murders, and thefts, and petty clashes. The answer is not something difficult to understand. All these incidents are unleashed with a sinister genocidal motive by this very Government. Why would they indeed control the violence? 

You can begin to understand that “AAVA”, a violent group that emerged in the shadows of the war, nurtured by this very Government is currently being used to side track the twin murder of the students of University of Jaffna and the corresponding uprising of the Tamils.

Upon taking a broad look into this issue, one can understand the fact that, should a large scale uprising of students and people happen, the same can be depicted as violent clashes between fringe groups. The sword fighting that is happening for the past few months, is a rehearsal that precisely implies the nature of the covert operation. (You would be aware of the violence unleashed in the name of “Grease Devils” which was indeed a similar rehearsal of sort). It does not stop there. The larger implication of using these assault groups would be to permanently station the army in our Tamil Homeland. It is a pawn in their hands. This real motive could be inferred from the recent speeches of the higher army officials.

All these are pointers to the nexus between the army and the assault groups. These assault groups and their usage have larger social ramifications on top of the genocidal intent. That needs a better understanding.

Let us analyze this in detail.

Brutalising community

The emotional trauma of a war and the psychological issues it brings about after its end is varied and assorted. Living under the shadow of the very power that vanquished a group brings immense psychological stress. There are no words that can express this emotion.

The policies and the actions of the Sri Lankan government towards the Tamils smacks of genocidal intent and this definitely is making the Tamils living in the island a depressed community. This is the precise background of the criminal gangs and their criminal deeds.

Well planned genocidal intents aims at brandishing the race that it plans to annihilate as a race laden with crimes.

Development and rehabilitation serves as empty rhetoric for a genocidal government that systematically carries on with its agenda of genocide by strangulating the economical, cultural, psychological and livelihood aspects of a race. It is just a ploy.

A master entrapment it is, that no one escapes falling as victim. Development as an agenda getting implemented without addressing basic livelihood needs, ethnic, lingual, social, and cultural, aspects of the minorities is indeed a farce. When this farce gets implemented in full swing, it provides a false impression that the government is doing everything necessary for rehabilitation. But in reality, the victims get entangled in this genocidal intent only to become victims once again. The fallout of this is the churning out of large number of anti-social elements from the victim race.

The brutal killings, rape, kidnap and gang wars that are taking place day-in and day-out in Tamil Eezham are a part of this larger design.

When the Tamils (Tamil Tigers) ruled, the social crimes were completely eradicated. Despite the trauma brought about by the war, the then Tamil society had higher standards by any means. That is not the case anymore.

There is no bread to break for breakfast, but the genocidal government of Sri Lanka has opened floodgates of activities that revolve around matters of sexual desires.  The acts of abusing children in the name of love and when they resist being sexually exploited, charging them as behaving violently, are some of the systematic acts of brutalizing a community.

The creation of a social set up that encourages sexual intents, in a society that is not formally imparted with sexual education and was very recently subject to war crimes cannot be termed healthy at all. Such acts would only encourage creating more criminals in the society like the Pungudu Theevu criminals.

Some of us had earlier warned that the incidence of Chengalladi and Achchuveli murders were the by-products of the genocidal intents. But our calls went largely unnoticed and were not heeded by the Tamil politicians and activists. That is the very reason such criminal incidents continue to rock our homeland to this day.

Permanent state of abuse

The Tamil society gets branded as thieves and murderers. This is precisely what the government wants and expects. This sorry state of affairs is carefully designed and implemented by the Government and its machineries. Voila, a systematic and a structured genocide captured perfectly in action. Such happenings neither qualify to be called rehabilitation or development, nor rapprochement.

It is genocide in full swing. It is a shame!

Post May 18, hundreds of such crimes have taken place and they either have been reported or went largely unreported.

During the days of the parallel Government of Tamil Eezham, Tamil women were not just safe but enjoyed all rights. But today, their entire society is systematically targeted. Harassed sexually and targeted for sex crimes. The prime reason for this is the continued presence of these criminal gangs.

Off late we often hear about the increased sale and usage of drugs and narcotics in Tamil homeland. Not only do they sell, but some have even become serious addicts. Such incidents are aimed at depicting Tamils as belonging to a violent society. Yet another coordinated plan unleashed systematically by the Government.

We are living in a precarious time when the entire Tamil community has to think before acting. Otherwise a pathetic history awaits the Tamils. An unfortunate history awaits the Tamils. They shall be chided for how they brought destruction unto themselves.



Parani Krisnarajani is a Tamil political analyst and well known writer.



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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