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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2642

Rounding-up, arrest and incarceration of Innocent Tamils in Colombo, a prelude to ethnic cleansing

Colombo, 02 December, (Asiantribune.com): In Colombo, Tamils were yesterday rounded up, arrested, incarcerated, and held incommunicado. A desperate move by the Sri Lanka government for second time this year, imposing collective punishment on the Tamils as whole, an unwise move to stem the twin attack let loose by the terrorists on 28 November. Arresting and holding more than one thousand Sri Lankan Tamils – men, women and children yesterday in Colombo, is alleged to be a highly condemnable act which amounts to unleashing ethnic cleansing.T.Maheswaran alleged that this heinous act amounts to ‘Rajapakse Brothers’ gradually launching the hawkish move of ethnic cleansing operation in Sri Lanka. T.Maheswaran alleged that this heinous act amounts to ‘Rajapakse Brothers’ gradually launching the hawkish move of ethnic cleansing operation in Sri Lanka.

T. Maheswaran, a Tamil Member of Parliament belonging to the main opposition United National Party (UNP) who is one of the elected representatives of the Colombo electoral district, was highly critical of police and Sri Lankan armed forces for arresting and incarcerating innocent Tamils in Colombo. Maheswaran alleged that this heinous act amounts to ‘Rajapakse Brothers’ gradually launching the hawkish move of ethnic cleansing operation in Sri Lanka.

Maheswaran speaking to ‘Asian Tribune’ told that it was only on the orders of the Ministry of Defense, innocent Tamils in Colombo who were found in the roads when they were going on to their businesses, were rounded up, arrested and held incommunicado. Details of those arrested Tamils are still not known and sketchy, he said.

He said that this was not the first time Tamils were rounded up and harassed. He reminded even earlier on 07 January this year, hundreds of innocent Tamils were evicted from low budget hotels and lodges where they stayed and a section of them evacuated to Vavuniya.

He recalled when the Government forcefully sends them to Vavuniya in buses; on the next day Center for Policy Alternatives filed a fundamental rights petition against the move before a panel of judges in the Supreme Court.

Subsequently on the instruction of the Supreme Court, out of the 272 people evacuated to the Northern town of Vavuniya, 186 of them were immediately brought back to the original places of lodgings in Colombo.

Maheswaran said police attached to police stations at Peliyagoda, Wattala, Foreshaw, Jempetta, Kesalwatte, Fort, Wellawatte, Dehiwala, Kohuwalle, Bampalapitya, Galkissa, Nugegoda, Kotahena, Rajagirya , Pettah, Grandpass and many other police stations in the Colombo districts were yesterday involved in arresting Tamil civilians.

Maheswaran revealed that nearly 100 Tamils, who were arrested in the Kotahena police division was taken in buses to Boosa detention centre located in the Galle district. He said that those sent to Boosa includes parents, children, men and women. Those were the people arrested in the Colombo roads and it was unfortunate that many parents – fathers and mothers, were arrested and sent to Boosa, while their children, infants were left alone in the lodges.

Maheswaran described that a father and mother brought their six year old son, who was suffering from blood cancer for treatment at the Maharagama hospital. He said that the father and mother – both were arrested and taken away by the police, leaving the sick child stranded in the hospital.

Maheswaran said that Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. He admonished that no one has the right to drive the Tamils away from the country.

He added that if there is a security problem in Colombo, it is up the defense forces of this country to clear it up. But Tamils who consider Sri Lanka as their country should not be collectively penalized. It is up to the government to embrace the Tamils and solve their political problems by negotiation. Government should clearly bear in mind that ethnic cleansing would be no answer to any problems that the country faces today.

Maheswaran told Asian Tribune that after 100 Tamils, who were arrested in Kotahena Police Division and taken away to Boosa detention centre, he marched along with the parents and relatives of those 100 arrested Tamils from Galle Face to Temple Trees, the official residence of Sri Lanka President with the Upcountry Peoples Front parliamentarian and Deputy Minister P. Radhakrishnan. He said that their advance was stopped by the Police near the Taj Samudra Hotel.

He said that he took those affected people to meet President Mahinda Rajapakse and to explain him the plight of the innocent Tamils. Maheswaran said that when the march to the Temple Trees was stopped, he contacted President Mahinda Rajapakse by his mobile phone and spoke to him.

He told that President refused to meet the parents but said he was prepared to meet him alone after 5 PM yesterday. He said that he did not go and the protestors later dispersed.

Maheswaran told that the issue of the arrest of Tamils and incarceration will be taken up when the Parliament meets on Monday. He also said that there will be a general Hartal - work stoppage, planned to be held in the Colombo city on Monday to protest the arrest of innocent Tamil civilians.

It is expected that the Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremasinghe will be meeting today the parents and relatives of those arrested yesterday.

According to Maheswaran that out of the arrested one thousand innocent Tamils, only 20 to 30 upcountry Tamils were released from the Pettah Police station and not one arrested Tamil from the North or East were so far released.

- Asian Tribune -

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