Civilians arriving at Colombo from north to be registered

September 18th, 2008 - 7:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Sep 18 (IANS) Sri Lanka Thursday made it obligatory for civilians from the war-ravaged northern districts and living in capital Colombo and its suburbs for the past five years, to register themselves with the police, a police spokesman here said.Claiming that this new regulation was being implemented in view of the current security situation in the country, police spokesman S.S.P. Ranjith Gunasekera said here Thursday that all the people who have come to the Western Province from Jaffna, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Mannar district during the past five years would be required to register themselves Sunday with the nearby police stations.

The Western Province comprise Colombo and Gampaha districts.

“We want all the people who had come from the Northern Province to the Western Province during the last five years to register with the police Sep 21. We are making a polite request and this is in view of the prevailing security situation.

“This is to ensure the smooth functioning of the process and to avoid inconveniences. We have no intention of harassing anyone,” Gunasekera said.

The new regulation requesting the people from the Northern Province, majority of them Tamils, comes at a time when the advancing government troops and the Tamil Tiger rebels are locked in heavy fighting in the northern Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.

Claiming that the ongoing military operation against the rebels have “resulted in an exodus of civilians” from these five districts in the north to other areas, including to the Colombo district, he said that the police force have decided to obtain the details of such arrivals “for the purpose of maintaining records in different police areas of the Western Province”.

Last Saturday Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was reported to have said that “massive influx of people” who had come to Colombo and suburbs and “staying without any valid reason are creating a huge security concern” for the defence authorities.

“In August, 6,950 people have come to the Colombo police division and are temporarily living in lodges, houses and various other places. This is not normal. Among other things it causes a lot of security risks,” the state-run newspaper, Daily News, quoted the defence secretary as saying Saturday.

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