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Sri Lankan police arrest Jaffna locals for ‘violating travel ban’ guidelines

Sri Lankan police officers have arrested individuals across Jaffna for allegedly “violating the travel ban” and interrogated for their purpose of travel.

The operation, which was led by the Jaffna Police Headquarters, was carried out in the town of Jaffna and neighbouring areas today.

The police officers carried out this sudden operation and told multiple shops and businesses to immediately close down as they were not allowed to operate whilst the travel ban is still in effect.

Other individuals who were seen travelling and roaming around the area were scrutinised for their reason of travel to see whether they were travelling for an essential service. Those who were allegedly not doing so or violating the travel ban guidelines, were arrested. The arrested individuals were later released with a stern warning.

As part of the militarised response to COVID-19, the Sri Lankan state has expanded its intimidation, harassment and surveillance of locals in the North-East, with the recent introduction of the travel ban. Most recently, the Sri Lankan Air Force has implemented drone surveillance across the Tamil homeland in districts such as Mannar, to make arrests of locals that were allegedly breaking social distancing measures and COVID-19 guidelines. Other districts such as Mullaitivu and Jaffna were also under surveillance and multiple arrests of locals were made for allegedly violating “travel ban guidelines”.  

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