Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) (Sri Lanka)

Country: Sri Lanka
Details of Formation: This group was initially formed as a political party with a paramilitary wing in 1985. It becomes progovernment in 1990. The PGM fought alongside the rebel group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) until 1990 when it allied with the government to fight against the LTTE. In the end of 2005, evidence suggests that the paramilitary wing of the party is armed and active again. The leader of the party, Douglas Devananda, was minister from 2005 to 2015 in the cabinet of president Rajapaksa.
Details of Termination: The group reportedly gave up arms during the March 2002 ceasefire but sources suggest a rearmament in 2005. There are no reports of further activities after 2011.
Purpose: The PGM was supposed to fight LTTE rebels, assisting the government security forces. Suppression political opponents was another purpose. Other tasks included the administration of refugee camps and imposing taxes.
Organisation: The leader of the political branch of the group is Douglas Devananda. The government provided the PGM with financial assistance and the group fought in cooperation with government security forces. It has been reported that killings were executed based on commands from the army.
Weapons and Training: The group was armed and trained by the government. It had also the government’s permission to carry weapons and explosives. The weapons that were handed in during the disarmament process show that it was armed with T56 and T81 rifles, machine guns, ammunition, grenades and mortars.
Size: --
Reason for Membership: The group’s purpose and deployment suggest that membership was mainly based on (ethnic) loyalties. Joining the party branch also brought the benefit of government patronage.
Treatment of Civilians: Civilians were killed, injured, kidnapped, extorted, abducted and executed by this group. News sources highlight that journalists and civil society activists were murdered, attacked and intimidated. The group also took part in massacres in collaboration with government forces and caused disappearances. It was also accused of sexual abuse. Inferring from the government’s explicit permission for the PGM to carry weapons, it tolerated this behaviour.
Other Information: --
References: PGMD and Wikipedia. “Eelam People’s Democratic Party.”