Police becomes truly Sri Lankan for first time in 3 decades

Some 356 Tamil youths from Sri Lanka joined police force after being recruited for the first time in 30 years following the end of the civil war in 2009.

Updated: Jan 07, 2011, 20:36 PM IST

Colombo: Some 356 Tamil youths from Sri
Lanka`s North, the heartland of the ethnic conflict, on Friday
joined Sri Lanka`s police force after being recruited for the
first time in 30 years following the end of the civil war in
2009.

Mahinda Balasuriya, the Inspector General of Police,
handed out the appointments to the new recruits who have
undergone six months training at the Police Training School.

The new recruits include 20 women police officers, the
Colombo Page online said today.

In effect, the police service becomes truly Sri Lankan
today. During the three decades long civil war with the Tamil
Tigers, the Tamil youth from the North were not recruited into
the country`s security forces.

Due to political interference and threats by the Tamil
Tigers, the youths in the north were unable to apply for
government jobs, especially for jobs in the armed services.

As a result, there was an acute shortage of
Tamil-speaking law enforcement officers to serve in the North
and East.

Sri Lanka`s main opposition leader earlier this week
asked parliament to send an all-party delegation to northern
Jaffna peninsula after the government raised concern over the
rising crime rate there.

Some of the new police officers are fluent in all
three major languages of Sri Lanka, Sinhala, Tamil, and
English, the report said.

It is seen as a milestone as for the first time in 30
years the Police Department has recruited 356 youth from the
Tamil-dominated North. They joined the force today.

Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe on Tuesday
asked parliament to send an all-party delegation to assess the
situation in Jaffna after Douglas Devananda, the Traditional
Industries & Small Enterprise Development minister, pointed
out that a fear psychosis was prevailing in northern most city
considered the cultural capital of minority Tamil population.

Wickremasinghe, the leader of the main opposition
United National Party, also demanded a full day debate on the
issue in the House.

The minister asked the authorities to take appropriate
action to stop kidnapping, murders and robberies that have
been threatening the civil life in Jaffna, the northern most
city of the country.

Sri Lankan military captured the Jaffna peninsula in
1995, which was earlier the stronghold of the now defeated
LTTE.

The Lankan military crushed the rebels in May 2009 and
ended the ethnic conflict that killed between 80,000 and
100,000 people.

The LTTE waged a bloody three-decade civil war for a
separate state for the Tamils of Sri Lanka, alleging
discrimination against the minority community at the hands of
the majority Sinhalas.

PTI