Wednesday, December 5, 2007

No discrimination against any community

"As a minority community representative I can't wait in the Government if the Government was doing any thing detrimental to the minorities," Minister for Highways and Road Development Jeyaraj Fernandopulle

At a press briefing held at the Media Center for National Security (MCNS) today, Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said that certain members of the parliament of the TNA and UNP were trying to show that innocent Tamils are being detained, which he as a Minister completely deny.

Referring to the two bomb attacks at Minister Douglas Devananda's Narahenpita office, and a shopping mall at Nugegoda, the Minister said that the two suspects, one suicide bomber and the other as a shopper had come as innocent people. They did not have any labels on them as LTTE or Terrorists. Therefore, the Government was compelled to search people and places in the interest of public security, since that was the responsibility of the Government.

The Minister continued that so far a total of 2554 both male and female have been taken in to custody for questioning. Of this number 2350 have already been released after questioning. Of the 2554, 2189 are from the Western province and the rest from Puttalam. Of the 202 still in custody, 100 are in detention and 102 are to be produced before the magistrate and in remand. They do not belong to one particular community. There are some Sinhalese and Muslims among them.

Those under detention are detained under the normal ordinary law. The Minister went on to say that these are not uncommon happenings at a time of threat to national Security. It happens all over the world, beat America, UK or India.

Of those to be produced before courts, there are some suspects with LTTE connections. It is a matter for the courts to decide. There are about 87 detainees from Jaffna and about 30 from upcountry.

Meanwhile following representations made to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by Ceylon Worker' Congress Leader Minister Arumugam Thondaman he met a number of relatives of the detained persons yesterday (3) at Temple Trees, Colombo.

President instructed the Inspector General of Police to release persons detained during recent search operations, if there are no charges against them.

Some make irresponsible statements of not providing sufficient facilities to those taken in to custody, but at an emergency situation it is not possible for the Police or the government to provide all the possible facilities when the police have to cope with so many numbers.

Those in custody are either in Boosa or in Police custody. Parents or relatives are able to see the detainees. One cannot be sure of parents or wives of having knowledge of what their children or husbands would be doing or involved in, said the Minister.

Answering a question, the Minister said that TNA MPs are provided ample security and Government was trying to do its best in the interest of the Security of the public.