Colombo Tamils face new regulations

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 08 December 1998, 22:10 GMT]
The Presidential Committee, set up to investigate the harassment and arrest of (Tamil) Civilians in Colombo, has been unable to prevent stringent new security regulations from coming into effect.

The stated objective of the Committee was to alleviate the security related problems of the Tamils in Colombo.

According to a communiqué issued today by the Committee's Secretary Mr.K.M.M Sheriff, the problem that Tamils visiting or staying in Colombo face in having themselves registered with the Police has been further exacerbated by the new regulation.

However, the new regulation was introduced by the Police, only after a dialogue with the 'anti-harassment committee (as it is commonly known).

Under the new regulation, all Tamils living in rented accommodation in the city and its suburbs, including those with national identity cards, will have to submit to the local Police two recent photographs along with a completed special registration form, issued by the Ministry of Defence through their landlords.

They have to keep a copy of the registration at all times after obtaining clearance from the OIC of their local Police station.

Most Tamils in Colombo have identity cards that were obtained before 1995. Also, it is extremely rare for a Tamil person eligible for a national identity card, to be issued with one in Colombo.

It is felt that these new regulations, whereby even Tamil civilians who have lived in Colombo for long periods have to register again with the police, are an attempt to bring all Tamils in Colombo under the same regulations.

Vehicles of Tamil visitors from the north-east should also be registered with the Police as soon as they arrive along with its passengers.

This means Tamils who may reach the residences of their friends or relatives without two copies each of their recent photos will face the prospect of being detained at the local Police Station.

The regulations negotiated by the Police with the anti- harassment committee go even further.

When visitors leave, their names have to be immediately deleted from the Ministry of Defence registration of the householders list.

 

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