Police aiding 'kasippu' trade in Kalkudah
[TamilNet, Monday, 19 February 2001, 19:32 GMT]
The distilling and selling of illicit liquor (kasippu) is flourishing at Kalkudah, a hamlet in the Valaichenai area with the assistance of local police, according to a complaint filed by the villagers with Members of Parliament for the Batticaloa district. The villagers alleged that the Officer-in-charge of Kalkudah Police is openly supporting illicit brewing and police personnel are being financially rewarded monthly for their assistance.
Managers and animators of the government sponsored 'Samurdhi' movement in Kalkudah are working to eliminate the 'kasippu' menace from the village. But, instead of being rewarded for their service they are being arrested and harassed by the police. "Kasippu trade has almost become a cottage industry in the Pattiyadichchenai village," a Samurdhi officer told TamilNet.
He said the local Samurdhi movement has set up an anti-narcotic unit as kasippu brewing has caused severe community problems.
On 10 February, officials attached to the 'Samurdhi' anti-narcotic unit searched houses in that village and confiscated a large quantity of 'kasippu' and utensils used for the manufacture. But following a complaint made by some traders, the police arrested seven Samurdhi volunteers. They were released later after being assaulted at the police station, the officer said.
As instructed by Mr.S.Punniyamoorthy, Divisional Secretary of the Valaichenai division, Samurdhi officials summoned the villagers the next day and told them not to engage in 'kasippu' trade and that they would be dealt with legally if they continue illicit brewing. A group of women volunteers were selected by the Samurdhi movement officials to dissuade the large number of women involved in the trade.
These women volunteers went to some houses in the village on 17 February and confiscated several bottles of 'kasippu' and utensils used for the manufacture. But again, on complaints made by the traders, the police detained four volunteers.
He said the female volunteers, identified as Kandiah Chandralekha (28), Punniyamoorthy Kala (22), Sellathamby Kaliamma (56) and Kanthiah Kalaranjani (26) were taken into police custody and were severely assaulted.
Villagers charge that Mr.Neville Anthony, Officer-in-charge of the Kalkudah police was earlier attached to Mamaankam where he had also assisted kasippu traders. On complaints by the people of the area he was transferred out to Kalkudah where he is continuing to assist kasippu trade, they said.
The villagers have now appealed to the Members of Parliament of the Batticaloa district to transfer the OIC out of Kalkudah Police.