Ladies, don’t wear jewellery or venture out alone: Police

As citizens cower in fear, Jaffna police warn populace
By Chris Kamalendran

Senior Police officers on Friday met with traders, government officials, bank officials and public representatives to discuss security measures to be followed in the Jaffna peninsula following a series of incidents of murder, robbery and abductions carried out over the past month.

Jaffna SSP Neville Padmahewa met the public at the Weerasingham Hall where the public were given detailed instructions to be followed in an effort to lower the now soaring crime rate. The police asked the public to be alert to the presence of strangers, and contact them (police) whenever they noticed such persons.

They suggested jewellery not be worn in public and suggested it be stored in the lockers of banks. The police advised house owners to ensure doors and windows were properly locked when leaving the house.

Police also suggested young females should not travel unaccompanied. The meeting was called in the wake of complaints made by civic and religious organizations and MPs from the area. Last week Minister Douglas Devananda raised the issue in Parliament while the Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe called on the Speaker to send a parliamentary delegation to assess the situation in the peninsula.

Over the last two months, residents in the north have been gripped with fear, especially in the aftermath of the killing of at least four persons, including a Zonal Director of Education and a Hindu priest. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) blamed the security forces for the worsening situation claiming policemen placed in the north were not taking action to arrest the criminals.

TNA MP, Suresh Premachandran said that it was difficult to carry out criminal activities without the knowledge of the forces and the police. However the security forces commander in Jaffna, Major General Mahinda Hathurusingha denied the allegations levelled by the TNA. He said most incidents were a result of personal grudges and or rivalry.

He added ex-combatants too were suspected of being involved in a number of incidents and said in the future the army would assist the police. Joint patrols, random checks and search operations would be launched to bring the crime rate down he said.

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