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Tamils must register with Police

The Sri Lankan Government has announced that Tamils living in Colombo city and suburbs, and in the hill country are required to register with the Police station nearest to their residences.

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Pujitha Jeyasundera, detailed the procedures to be followed by Tamil residents in fulfilling this new requirement at a press conference held on June 30 in Colombo district Administrative Secretariat.

Regional Assistant IGPs, Officers in Charge of Police, District Secretaries, Officials of the President’s Office and Colombo District Government Agent, Mr Silva, participated in the conference.

Details related to owners of residences, rented occupants, and boarders in the residence will be required to be entered in the registration forms.

Visitors from other districts staying with relatives, and temporary occupants of boarding houses are also expected to register, Mr Jeyasundera said.

Business establishments, public and private, are also expected to register details of Tamil workers.

The new procedures are being implemented to strengthen security in Colombo and to prevent attacks by cadres of Liberation Tigers, Mr Jeyasundera said.

Registration forms prepared by the Sri Lanka President’s office are to be distributed by the Police assisted by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) cadres to homes. Occupants are expected to complete the registration forms in front of the attending security personnel, the Deputy IGP said.

Sri Lanka’s police, like other security forces, are overwhelmingly Sinhala.

During the times of conflict Tamil areas in Colombo and the south have been subject to cordon and search operations, resulting in mass detentions and, frequently, disappearances. Many Tamils are released after paying demanded bribes.

Shortly after the Sinhala nationalist President Mahinda Rajapakse came into power last November, security measures targetting Tamils in the south were stepped up, amid escalating violence in the north and east.

On New Year’s eve last year, the mass arrests of Tamils, a practice which was stopped when the pro-peace UNF government came into power in 2002, was reintroduced.

That night, police and troops arrested 920 Tamils, including 105 Tamil women, in a joint cordon and search operation in Colombo.

The arrested were taken in busses to 8 different police stations and were being photographed, finger-printed and videoed by the Sri Lankan Intelligence agencies.

The search operation was conducted in Tamil residential areas in Wellawatte, Bambalapitiya, Maradana, Kotahena, Grandpass and Mutuwal. Fifty three Tamils were detained after identity-registration in the operation, tellingly codenamed “Strangers Night III.”

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