Sri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena awarded soldiers and policemen in Jaffna last week, as he called for a crackdown on illegal drug smuggling.
Speaking at a ceremony in Jaffna, Mr Sirisena called the issue of illegal drug use “the most serious social menace that prevails in the North today”.
The Sri Lankan president went on to award certificates to police and navy officers “who contributed to the arrest of drug dealers,” according to an official military website.
The presence of the military has been sharply criticised by Tamil leaders in the region, with many complaining that Sri Lankan troops have contributed to illegal drug activity and the resulting social unrest.
During his visit Mr Sirisena, also announced the opening of a new police complex in Jaffna.
Photograph: Sunday Times