Pass system restricts freedom of movement
[TamilNet, Thursday, 29 April 1999, 11:55 GMT]
The Forum for Human Dignity has brought to the attention of the Anti-Harassment Committee the problems faced by Tamils travelling between different areas of the country.
The Secretary of the Forum for Dignity, Ms Maheswary Velautham, in a letter to the Anti-Harassment Committee has highlighted the case of Nagarajah Mathanarajah of Kaithady North, Jaffna.
Currently residing in Colombo, Mr Mathanarajah, has been told by the Bambalapitya Police that he has to obtain a permit from the Vavuniya police to reside in Colombo.
"The imposition of this condition by the Bambalapitya Police is illegal. This is a violation of a citizen's fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution.There is no law to restrict the freedom of movement of an individual. Please direct the Bambalapitiya Police to stop this type of harassment immediately"-said the Forum's letter to the Anti-Harassment Committee, appointed by the government to inquire into complaints made by Tamil people in the country.
The Secretary of the Forum for Dignity has also pointed out in her letter that the pass system, prevailing in Vavuniya and other places for citizens to enter or leave a particular area is illegal.
The Forum for Human Dignity has spotlighted the case of N.Mathanaraja arrested by the Kankesanthurai Police on 22.3.98 and remanded by the Anuradhapura Magistrate at Kalutara prison. He was later discharged from prison.
Thereafter Nagarajah Mathanarajah registered his name at the Bambalapitiya Police and started working at Katpaham, a sales centre in the same area.
He arrested by the Bambalapitiya Police again on 19.01.1999. He was held in remand for about one month and was discharged by the Mount Lavinia Magistrate after two months. He was charged for not obtaining a permit from the Vavuniya authorities to reside in Colombo.
Then again on 26.4.1999 the Bambalapitiya Police had warned him that if he did not obtain a residency permit from the Vavuniya authorities he would face arrest again.