Colombo: The Sri Lankan military has stepped
up its operation to arrest thousands of army deserters, many
of them responsible for the surge in crime in the country.
An operation is underway to arrest 60,000 deserters who
have not surrendered to the authorities, Sri Lanka Army
spokesperson Brigadier Nihal Happurachchi was quoted as saying
by ColomboPage online newspaper earlier this week.
The number of desertion from the army swelled during the
three-decade ethnic conflict between the military and the
LTTE. Earlier, the army had announced grace periods to these
deserters so that they could surrender to the authorities.
The Army said no more grace periods will be provided to
According to Brigadier Hapuarachchi, 11,000 deserters
have been arrested so far this year.
He said legal action will be initiated against the
arrested deserters who will be discharged from the army.
Police records show that a number of military deserters
have been linked to the surge in crime, the report said.
The LTTE waged a civil war for a separate state for the
Tamils of Sri Lanka, alleging discrimination against the
minority community at the hands of the majority Sinhalas.
The Lankan military crushed the rebels in May 2009 and
ended the ethnic conflict that killed between 80,000 and