2ND LEAD

Sri Lankan forces arrest 1,500 Tamils in South, detention camps overcrowded

[TamilNet, Saturday, 01 December 2007, 12:25 GMT]
Sri Lankan armed forces have arrested around 1,500 Tamil men and women in wide scale cordon and search operations within the last 48 hours in Colombo and other districts in South, Tamil parliamentarians told media in Colombo on Sunday. 351 of the arrested persons in Colombo, currently detained at Boosa detention camp, complained that many of them were arrested despite documenting their identity and that they have not been provided proper food and drink for the last 48 hours. 51 of the detainees, at Boosa, were females.

Parents of the detainees visited the camp Sunday, with opposition UNP MP T. Maheswaran, and witnessed that the detainees have not slept the whole of last night as there was no room to lie down and they had to sit on the floor.

"It is difficult to provide basic facilities to the inmates due to this sudden over crowding," said Janaka Chandrajith, the officer in charge of the detention centre.

Many of the arrested youths told the reporters that they were arrested though they were in possession of their National Identity Cards, Police registration and other relevant documents to prove the authorization for their stay in the area where they had been arrested.

Some of the persons were arrested in their work places, they added. Some of the arrested civilians said that their family members do not know that they had been taken into custody by the SLA.

Meanwhile, the police authorities in areas where the civilians were arrested know nothing about these arrests made in the last 48 hours by the special military and police Squads, Mano Ganeshan, the leader of Western Province Peoples’ Front leader told media.

On Saturday, parents of around 100 arrested Tamils from Kottahena tried to march to Temple Trees from Galle Face with the UNP parliamentarian Mr. Maheswaran and Upcountry Peoples Front parliamentarian P. Radhakrishnan, but were stopped by the Police near the Taj Samudra Hotel. When Maheshwaran called the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa over his mobile phone, he refused to meet the parents, the parliamentarian told media. The protesters were later dispersed.

The arrests come two days after Sri Lankan railway authorities suspended train service to Vavuniyaa, aiming to limit travel between North and South.

Tamil civilians were arrested in Modara, Grandpass, Gampaha, Ratmalana, Chilaapam (Chilaw). Arrests were also reported in Kotagala and Pusallawa areas in the Up-Country.


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