Security pretext for extortion - MP

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 22 April 1998, 23:59 GMT]
"The the arrests and detention of Tamils has become big business" said Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham TULF MP for Batticaloa speaking on the adjournment motion on mass arrets and detention of Tamils in the Sri Lankan Parliament today.

The following are excerpts from his speech-

"This is a matter which has caused deepest concern to the law abiding Tamil citizens of this country who are unable to move freely or transact their daily business or to rest within the security of their homes without being subject to indiscriminate and degrading treatment....We have also reports that elderly persons, women and others of high social standings within the community have been rudely and roughly treated and in some instances being beaten in Police stations (sic)"

"We have also alarming and disturbing reports of money being extorted from persons in detention by unscrupulous Police personnel. There had been several complaints made to me by affected parties in this regard.

Today the arrests and detention of Tamils had bcome big business (sic) Tamils arriving at the Bandaranaike Internatrional Airport from the middle east and the western countries, particularly youths are being subjected to indiscriminate and degrading treatment.

They are being separated from other passengers and searched and thoroughly harassed whereas members of other communities are not subjected to such humiliating and degrading treatment. Why this discrimination? I have had complaints from many Tamil youths from whom money had been extorted while they set out of the outside exit (sic) of the airport by some unscrupulous security personnel. In some instances Tamil youths are taken into custody detained and remanded by courts on charges of being fund collecting agents of the LTTE in foreign countries".

Many instances of the security forces entering the shrine rooms of Hindu temples with their shoes and conducting raids have been reported. One of the glaring examples is the recently conducted raid at the Captai Garden Temple. The security forces had not only entered the shrine room with their shoes (sic) but have (sic) taken into custody the chief priest of the temple, his wife and daughter but also detained them for more than 15 hours in the Police station. These actions of the security forces not only show callous disrespect to other faiths but also bring disrepute to the government. We urge the minister to take note of the seriousness of the situation which seems to continue despite the numerous protests that are being made by political parties and social organisations."


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