Are Grease Yakas An Excuse To Militarize?

Military flexing muscles in post-trouble Puttalam

Is the president really in need of several pints of blood of people who don’t eat pork? Are people in specific districts of Sri Lanka undergoing simultaneous mass hallucinations possibly brought on by the collective effects of coastal winds, fasting and being of a particular ethno religious persuasion?

Like the beggar killings, we might never know for sure. Anyone remember the beggar killings? No. Poor souls.

Excuse or no, grease yakas have resulted in increasingly militarized coastal districts. People there have no love for the armed forces, rather they’d just like the police to buck up and start acting like the police thank you very much. Instead, fear and public unrest have had the undesired effect of increasing the presence of the army in these locations.

Grease yakas themselves, though widely pooh poohed as a ‘myth’, are no lie. The people I’ve spoken to and the consistent fantastic facts that keep popping up from different parts of the country testify to this; spring boots, Wolverine like claws, slippery black clothes, high athleticism etc. They are also silent and operate solely to scare, actual injuries having been caused by them being kept to a minimum. Separate incidents from all the districts in the country have produced witness accounts that corroborate with some, or all of these details.

Mauled. His jaw is broken and due for operation

Last week I spoke to a man that fought a grease yaka. He was overwhelmed when the guy he was fighting was joined by two others, and heavily injured.

Like all scary myths involving creatures that draw blood, the GYs come out at night. They target women, and seem to love targeting Muslim women in particular. Perhaps because it is ramadan and they assume that the men of the house must have gone to the mosque, or that breaking fast would have left the people lazy and less inclined or capable of prolonged chase.

Like all good fear mongering tactics, the damage that the greased yakas have caused have been perpetrated purely by enraged crowds and retaliating armed forces. No evidence of foul play. No greasy fingerprints on dead civilians or cops. All that remains of the actual cuprit are stories of shadows that sound slightly ridiculous in the daytime and a clinging fear that has spread like well, greased lightning.

The cops are free to call the people crazy, and the people are free to go berserk with fear and because no one seems to believe them. The people protest, the forces retaliate, someone dies, military presence is increased to provide ‘more security’. This has been a repeating cycle.

The army gets more excuses to set up checkpoints and continue wielding weapons at poor people.; controlling and monitoring their movements. This is not especially strange to the people of these areas, and they’re generally OK with this, having suffered more during the war. Emergency law is more a concern of the international community and liberal intelligentsia in Colombo, these people just want to be left alone, to live in peace.

Ironically though, they are smack dab in the middle of a geopolitical conflict, and are now pawns. Pawns must die. Unrest here serves the purpose of sending a powerful message, that of the continued need for Control. Emergency has now been removed, but that could just be legislative lip service. The army can’t all start cleaning the roadsides.

Meanwhile, Colombo laughs, is slightly shocked, morbidly fascinated and engrossed in cricket by turns, avidly ignoring the steady uptick of taxation and the Colombo Consumer Price Index.

It’s a zero sum game. But who is winning?

  1. Their accounts about the Grease Yaka is much like something out of a Marvel comic. I don’t doubt the possibility that the government might be behind it, but even so it would take a lot of funds to train and develop a special military force that wear armoured slippery suits; that have switchblades installed and anti-gravity boots.

    Given the wave of fear that the Grease Yaka has brought about you have to give leeway for such fabrications; what’s bizarre is that the government ACTUALLY thinks it can get away with telling the public that they’re dreaming it up. How stupid do they think the people are?

    I don’t think it has any connection with lifting Emergency Regulations though. Like the serial-beggar-killer, this too will pass. And then they’ll have no excuse for tightened security.

    • Whacko said:

      yeah true, but whats absurd is that everyone knows that the government knows that everyone knows its them, deep down. this is a sad thing . our levels of apathy have only increased with time. If we’re gonna just sit there and absorb whatever we hear then i doubt that as Sri Lankans we have advanced much further than the social decrepitude prevalent during JVP times and before the LTTE war

  2. John said:

    I’ve heard this theory discussed before. I tend to not agree on this simply because right now the government doesn’t really need to hoodwink anyone to do what it pleases. It’s got massive support so it’s pretty much given free reign. They don’t need the grease yaka to do any of this. What’s hilarious is there response to it however. Calling it rumor and conjecture and going after people who talk about it. I read in the paper on Sunday that they had even complained to FB about the grease yaka fan page and were going to look into which people had ‘liked’ the page.

    • Whacko said:

      lol yeah, that FB dude is really making hay. But i disagree about the motive. The grease yaka still sends out a powerful message about the succeptibility of these areas for public unrest and hence makes a case for continued military presence. The PTA is still active afterall. But hey, i’m just speculating.

  3. Nikhil said:

    Please quit trying to paint Muslims as the victims – this is happening all over the country.

    • Whacko said:

      An overwhelming majority of cases have been reported by Muslims, wherever it has happened in the country. Coincidence?

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