Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has asserted that the Police have been given strict directives that no one, other than the law enforcement authorities, should be permitted to carry weapons in the East, and that anyone else found in possession of a weapon would be arrested.
He had made this declaration at a meeting with the UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, Ms. Angela Kane, when she attended the meeting of the Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (CCHA) on Monday, a media release said.
According to the release, the defence secretary had told Ms. Kane that a security plan for the East had already been implemented, with increased police presence to ensure a peaceful election. There are 800 candidates contesting the upcoming elections and two police officers have been allocated for the security of each candidate. The individual candidates can decide whether to take advantage of the security offered.
Ms. Kane attended Monday s CCHA meeting at the invitation of Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe. Two visiting senior ICRC officials, who had been invited to attend the meeting, were also present.
Ms. Kane, speaking at the end of the meeting, said she was impressed by what she had seen at the CCHA, the media release said. She thanked the government for facilitating her visit to Batticaloa and said she was encouraged by the steps taken to improve security presence, particularly in areas with refugees (IDPs).
She further said that she was encouraged by the work carried out in the district, for example by the go and see visits for IDPs to areas of resettlement. She reiterated that security and livelihood development for the people of the East was imperative.
One of the key outcomes of the CCHA meeting, according to the press release, was a plan presented by the Secretary of Defence, to minimize the delays and inconveniences faced at the Medawachchiya checkpoint.
Meanwhile, separately, Ms. Kane while expressing her satisfaction regarding the government s resettlement process of IDPs has requested Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Minister Rishard Bathiudeen to resettle the remaining IDPs speedily. Ms. Kane made this request when she met him yesterday at his ministry.
In had been disclosed at this meeting that there were 6927 families, comprising 26,135 persons, displaced in the Batticaloa District and 1750 families, comprising 5985 persons, in the Trincomalee District who have not yet been resettled.