920 Tamils arrested in major cordon, search operation in Colombo
[TamilNet, Saturday, 31 December 2005, 11:01 GMT]
Sri Lankan Military troopers and the Colombo Police have arrested 920 Tamils, including 105 Tamil women, in a joint cordon and search operation in Colombo between Friday midnight and Saturday noon, police said. The arrested were taken in busses to 8 different police stations and were being photographed, finger-printed and videoed by the Sri Lankan Intelligence agencies, informed sources said. The search operation was conducted in Tamil residential areas in Wellawatte, Bambalapitiya, Maradana, Kotahena, Grandpass and Mutuwal. Fifty three Tamils were detained after identity-registration in the operation code named "Strangers Night III," Police said.
Two-thousand troopers from the Sri Lanka Army, Navy and the Air Force together with 1500 policemen took part in the operation conducted in 15 police areas in Colombo following the orders given by the SL President Mahinda Rajapakse to the Inspector General of Police said Pujitha Jayasundara, Deputy Inspector General of Police addressing a press conference in Colombo Police Headquarters Saturday evening.
Two of the youths who objected the arrests, were beaten by the soldiers in front of Roxy Cinema Theatre in Wellawatte, eyewintesses told TamilNet.
Intelligence agencies were questioning the arrested persons to establish and document "valid reasons" for their stay in Colombo.
The persons who did not have valid identity documents in their possession during their arrest will be detained for further interrogations, police sources added.
The Police described the search operation as a major move to crack down "LTTE activities" in Colombo.
A number of Tamil persons were arrested during the search operations conducted in Colombo over the past weeks.
Only five persons, from the earlier search operations were still in custody, the Police sources claimed.