Fear of re-introduction of Police registration unfounded - Amaratunge

[TamilNet, Monday, 30 June 2003, 10:17 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Government is not contemplating re-introducing legislation requiring Tamils residing in Colombo to register the details of households with the Police. Tamil people therefore need not worry about such procedures coming into force again, said John Amaratunge, Minister of Interior.

Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and Police recently conducted several cordon-and-search operations in the suburbs of Colombo where several Tamils were taken in for further questioning and interrogation. In addition, new check points have sprung up in Colombo.

Concerned Tamil residents of Wattale have approached S. Wigneswaran, their representative to the Wattale Urban Council, to ascertain if they have to begin registering their details with the Sri Lanka Police, tamil daily Uthayan reported.

Minister Amaratunge assured Wigneswaran that Sri Lanka Government has no plans to reintroduce police registration when he met the Minister to discuss his constituents' fears. Minister further told Wigneswaran that the sudden introduction of additional security measures were meant mainly to contain increased unlawful activity including murders by underworld criminals.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr.T.E.Anandarajah told reporters that although several Tamils were investigated in the recent days no one has been arrested. He added theft, murders, and vehicle abductions have increased in recent days. The cordon-and-search operations were necessary to apprehend the criminal elements responsible for the unlawful activity and also to identify pistol gangs of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Sri Lanka Police can arrest and detain suspects only under normal laws of the land now. Colombo agreed to suspend arrests under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in terms of its ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers last year.

The PTA and ER give sweeping powers to Sri Lankan armed forces to search, arrest and detain. Thousands of Tamils in Colombo were routinely arrested, interrogated, tortured and detained incommunicado for long periods under the draconian provisions of the ER and PTA.


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