Controversial pass system suspended

[TamilNet, Friday, 04 February 2000, 11:33 GMT]
A proposed travel pass system will not come into effect as scheduled from February 15 in the Batticaloa district, according to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Eastern Range.

Parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham said that DIG Padmasiri Liyanage had informed him that the proposed pass system for people to travel outside the Batticaloa district had been suspended until an appropriate scheme is formulated.

Earlier, the Defense Ministry wanted all people under 12 living in Batticaloa district to obtain passes to travel outside the district. This raised tensions in the district and a 'hartal' was observed demanding the immediate withdrawal of the proposed pass system.

Several Parliamentarians and political parties also requested the President to withdraw the proposed pass system, which would isolate the people of the eastern province from other parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Harassment Committee headed by a Cabinet Minister has instructed the Senior Superintendent of Police in Polonnaruwa to stop collecting national identity cards from people travelling outside the eastern province at Manampity check point.

The police personnel manning the Manampity check point collected National Identity Cards from people and issued temporary receipts to them. This procedure had caused immense difficulties for travelers when security personnel in other checkpoints check them.

Parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham brought this matter to the notice of the Anti-Harassment Committee headed by Mr.Lakshman Jayakody, Minister of Cultural Affairs.

The Committee summoned the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned and inquired about the procedure adopted at Manampity check point. The Anti Harassment Committee later instructed the SSP to stop collecting National Identity Cards and issuing temporary receipts to the people who travel outside the district at Manampity checkpoint.

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