IG visits Jaffna, promises to tackle Police graft

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 April 2003, 14:34 GMT]
“There aren’t good relations between the people of Jaffna and the Police as a consequence of twenty years of war”, said Sri Lanka’s Inspector general of Police, Mr. T. E Anandarajah, speaking to presspersons in the northern town Wednesday. He said his visit is part of the effort to rectify the situation while acknowledging that there is a shortage of Tamils in the Police.

About 80 percent of the Sri Lankan Police force is Sinhala. The rest are largely Muslim.

Mr. Anandarajah told journalists that steps will be taken to record complaints from the Jaffna public in Tamil and to recruit and deploy more Tamils in the north.

Sri Lankan Police records complaints only in Sinhala. Few Tamils in the northeast know the language. Hence the practice gave rise to widespread abuse, particularly under the Prevention of Terrorism Act the provisions of which allow for conviction on the sole basis of a person’s confession and the evidence of the officer who recorded it.

Thousands of Tamils were incarcerated on account of their confessions, obtained invariably under torture and recorded in Sinhala.

Responding to a question about corruption in the force, he said action will be taken against Policemen who solicit bribes from the public in Jaffna.

The IG told presspersons that his department is trying to take back 126 Tamil officers who left the Police to correct the shortcomings in the force vis-à-vis the ethnic balance.

The presspersons also drew his attention to premeditated Police brutality against them in Jaffna. He was also told that contrary to acceptable security norms promoted by the ceasefire, the Sri Lanka army’s military intelligence continues to search and check civilians at the Muhamalai entry point to Jaffna.

Mr. Anandarajah promised to look into the matter. Asked whether his department’s relations with the LTTE’s Police force, he declined comment, saying it was a matter for the government to consider.

The IG inspected Police stations in Pedro, Kankesanthurai and Jaffna town.

 

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