Although anti social elements have shown their displeasure over the ongoing `Strangers Night` operations launched by the police in Colombo and elsewhere to flush out criminal elements from their hide-outs, several law abiding and peace loving people in the country have supported the move, IGP Chandra Fernando said speaking to the `Sunday Observer`.
He said the `Strangers Night` operation was not something new, but has been conducted from early times to round up criminals, drug peddlers, persons with warrants of arrest, persons carrying stolen property, to check vice and persons possessing unauthorised firearms.
In recent times such operations have been conducted in Galle, Kandy and Kurunegala areas. `In conducting such operations we have not discriminated against Tamils or the Muslim community. We do not arrest persons, but persons arousing reasonable suspicion are detained at police stations until their bona-fides are established. We even provide them with breakfast and a place for them to sit.`
IGP further said residents from Wattala, Mt. Lavivia, Dehiwela, Negombo areas have extended their fullest co-operation to the police to conduct such operations to rid undesirables from their areas.
Meanwhile around 900 persons from Colombo and its suburbs were detained following the cordon and search operations launched during the past few weeks. Last Friday Dr. Wickremabahu Karunantane and others took part in a demonstration in Colombo against the cordon and search operation carried out by police and security forces where several Tamils were detained.