2ND LEAD

SL Police expel Tamils from Colombo lodges

[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 June 2007, 04:47 GMT]
Despite the assurances by the Sri Lankan Government Information department last week citing the Head of the state, Mahinda Rajapaksa, that all citizens would be treated equally, Sri Lankan Policemen in Colombo Thursday launched search operations and entered the private lodges to forcefully evacuate the Tamil tenants, initial reports from Colombo said. A large number of policemen have been deployed on duty since 4:00 a.m. on the roads in Wellawatte and Pettah areas. Hundreds of civilians have been packed in busses to be sent away, initial reports said. The Police raid was going on in four police divisions, Wellawatte, Kotahena, Pettah (Peaddai) and Wattala.

47 Tamils were forcefully taken from a single lodge located in Station Road in Wellawatte. Another lodge in the area reported 35 persons were taken away by the Police. Many lodges have been raided in all the four police divisions.

Eyewitnesses said four buses full of Tamil civilians from NorthEast were parked in front of Kotahena Police Station.

Reports further said more than 3 buses were to be sent to Vavuniyaa and a similar number of buses to the east port town.

Last Thursday, the Police Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of Pettah Police division, Chief Inspector Jayaratne, summoned lodge owners and gave instructions to immediately expel around 5000 Tamil tenants from Northeast and Upcountry staying in 68 lodges in Pettah Police division.

Later, the Information department of the Sri Lanka Government denied the reports of the instructions reportely given by the Police OIC.

The Sri Lankan Police IGP Victor Perera who launched a new Tourist Police Unit last week had said everyone having a valid reason to stay in lodges were free to stay.


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