Sunday, August 10, 2008

Most Tamils are not Tigers

It has often been said that while all Tigers are Tamils, all Tamils are not Tigers. However threadbare the cliché may be, this is almost wholly true although it is increasingly evident that some Sinhalese are very much in the pay of the Tigers. But it is a fact of life in this civil war-torn country, where a terrorist strike by the LTTE at anytime, anywhere, is a stark possibility, extraordinary security measures that burden ordinary people, have to be taken. Yet it is not acceptable that when such restrictions, checks and investigations are enforced, that people of one community are singled out for special attention.

We carry an article today about one such instance of a woman who has worked for many years in two garment factories in the outskirts of Colombo, who while headed for her home in Badulla, suffered the nightmare of being held for nearly two days in a police station until her employer was able to establish her bona fides and get her released. The story also indicates varying degrees of kindness to the detainees in the police station that would have certainly helped blunt the bitterness such incidents inevitably create.

Reading the report of the travails of those held for checking, a problem that too many Tamils mostly from the estate areas often suffer, there is a clear impression created that these checks are replete with a great deal of unnecessary bureaucratic procedures. Sometimes the so-called ``suspects’’ are produced in court or, more commonly, a lot of time is spent in deciding whether they should be produced. Meanwhile they continue to be held by the police in stations that are not equipped to hold large numbers.

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