By Dilini Perera
The registrations that are currently being implemented by the police in certain parts of Colombo will soon be a nationwide process, Police Spokesman SP Prishantha Jayakody said. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Jayakody confirmed that the registrations are taking place, not only in Wellawatte but also in Kirulapona and Kotahena. He added that they were a ‘normal, regular occurrence’ and that they hope to carry out these registrations in all parts of the country.
Leader of the Democratic People’s Front (DPF) Mano Ganesan, who has accused the police of carrying out these registrations as an act of discrimination against Tamils, said that when the media contacted the police two weeks ago when this process started, they denied any knowledge of the registrations.
SP Jayakody, in response, said that he could not remember making a statement of that nature. “I get hundreds of calls a day. I can’t remember what I have told individual media institutions. What I know, I will say yes and to what I don’t know, I will say no”.
The registrations, which were initially executed during the war under Section 23 of the Emergency Regulations Act, were relaxed with many of the other emergency regulations. Even though the DPF has accused the police of functioning under this act, the police have revealed that the registrations are being carried out under the Police Ordinance. According to the breakdown of events that was supplied by Ganesan, on July 8 at around noon, police in the Wellawatte area made announcements through PA systems that were fitted in three wheelers, calling for Tamils in the area to register themselves. This occurred in areas such as Rudra Mawatha, Veluwanarama Flats area, Hamden Lane, Peterson Lane and W.A. Silva Mawatha.
Later on, during the weekend, police and the army visited Tamil residents in the Wasala and Mayfield roads in the Kotahena area. The following week, police and army personnel visited Tamil owned business premises in the 2nd and 3rd Cross Streets in Pettah.
Following the protests made by the DPF, Ganesan believes that the police have made this a low profile activity, with the police going to Tamil homes and businesses without prior, public announcements. He also mentioned that in private, police officers had stated that they are merely carrying out the orders of higher authorities.