Sparking fears of a re-emergence of a ‘grease yakka’ phenomenon in the Muslim dominated Eastern villages of Nintavur and Kalmunai, villagers on Monday apprehended several STF personnel in civil clothing who were prowling around the area at night.
The group was apprehended by village vigilantes on Monday night who had been on the alert following a series of robberies and crime in the area after dark. A decision had been reached by villagers in the area to demand identification from any strangers roaming around the village after 9 p.m.
Clashes had ensued between the villagers and STF personnel in civilian clothing after one officer had been unable to prove his identity.
The group was handed over to the police who released the STF group, angering the villagers.
A harthal has been held for the past day, resulting in the Ampara Kalmunai road being impassable for several hours. The villagers of Nintavur are reported to have burnt tires and organised a general strike in protest at the police inaction. Police have fired tear gas to disperse the protestors.