Mannar exit limited to fifty

[TamilNet, Monday, 18 January 1999, 20:26 GMT]
Only fifty civilians are now allowed to travel from Mannar to districts outside the northern province each day due to a new regulation introduced this week by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) says TamilNet's Mannar correspondent. The SLA has issued its own special identity cards to permanent residents who live in those areas of the Mannar district which are under its control.

It was easy to obtain permission to travel to the other parts of the island with this card until last week.

A resident of Mannar now has to submit his/her SLA issued identity card at 7 a.m. in the morning to the Sri Lankan Police at the Pass Office in Mannar town a full day before the journey.

Only fifty cards are accepted here daily despite the hundreds of civilians who jostle and push each other to get a place among the first fifty whose SLA ids are accepted for processing.

Later, at around 2 p.m. the SL Military Intelligence interviews the fifty persons thoroughly at its unit which is situated close to the Pass office.

The original applications that the civilians had submitted to the SLA to obtain their special ids are scrutinised by the military intelligence during the questioning and screening.

The Military Intelligence officers also investigate the purpose of the candidate's journey to the southern parts of the island, including the capital Colombo.

It is only after the military intelligence grants clearance to the Police at the Mannar Pass Office that one can obtain permission to travel south said official sources in Mannar today.

Hundreds of passengers on urgent business to Colombo and other parts of the island have been stranded in Mannar island as a consequence of the new regulation says TamilNet's correspondent.


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