Impetus for City security
The decision by the Government
to set up Civil Committees to complement the regular forces to
beef up security in the City is a welcome move especially in the
context of indiscriminate LTTE attacks on civilian targets.
According to the DIG Colombo, over 25,000 persons have been
enlisted to ‘keep an eye’ on terrorist activities and suspicious
The move no doubt while augmenting the strength of the
Security Forces and police is bound to attract more public
response in supplying information to apprehend suspects.
Such vigilance Committees would also help Police to devote
more time towards combatting crime and concentrate on their
routine duties which have been somewhat neglected due to their
dedication to arrest the terrorist threat.
Some time ago an idea was mooted to deploy the vast number of
three wheeler operators in the City to function as a vigilant
army on the basis that they more than anybody else come into
contact with hundreds of people and are more likely to identify
a terrorist suspect.
This was based on the premise that a large number of
terrorist suspects (and criminals) had often travelled in three
wheelers. It would be prudent if such a plan is put into action
to reduce the odds against terror strikes in the city.
The rewards scheme proposed by the IGP for public information
regarding terrorist suspects too it is hoped will ensure more
The presentation of rewards with due publicity (with the
identity of the informer blacked out) would also dispel any
doubts among the public as to the genuineness of the offer and
would result in more information surfacing on terrorist
The City of the Colombo is not the only target of the
terrorists who had recently taken to attacking suburban areas
and also far flung outposts in the country. There is an urgent
need to expand Vigilance Committees to cover all major cities
and towns and also the hinterland.
The public too should be more conscious in stepping up
vigilance instead of leaving the task of combatting terrorism
solely in the hands of the Forces.
They should play a pro-active role instead of being insulated
from the efforts of the Forces who are sacrificing their lives
to combat this menace.
Political campaigning is to
begin today in respect of the Eastern Province (Batticaloa)
Local Government elections which are to be held after a long
lapse of 14 years.
The election scheduled for March 14 will be a litmus test on
how far the people of the East have kept faith in the
institution of democracy after living under dominance of the
LTTE for nearly one and half decades before its eviction by the
Security Forces from the Province.
True the voters in the East went to the poll at national
elections, but these are not the same as the local elections
where they will be called upon the elect their own
representatives to run their affairs in their own backyard.
The issues that are thrown up will be vastly different to
those they may have to confront at a national election.
The last Local Government Election in the East in 1993 was
marred by voter intimidation and other forms of irregularities
which transpired during subsequent Commission of Inquiry to
investigate the matter, which reduced the polls to a farce.
It is hoped that the upcoming election would be held in a
conducive climate that would enable the people to exercise their
democratic franchise without fear or intimidation. True it may
not be possible to dismiss the possibility of violence given the
configurations that have sprung up in the Eastern theatre.
Therefor it is the responsibility of the Elections
Commissioner to marshal all his forces to ensure that the
democratic rights of the people are not affected by untoward
incidents which would otherwise negate the commitment by
President Mahinda Rajapaksa to empower the people of the East
who are just emerging from the oppressive mindset instilled
under the LTTE.