The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has withdrawn its petition to the Supreme Court on the registration of civilians in the North after an undertaking given by the Jaffna Security Forces Commander Mahinda Hathurusinghe that such registrations would be stopped.
Senior attorney and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said the party decided not to proceed with the motion filed earlier against what it saw as a subtle form of racial profiling. “We were given the assurance that the registrations will be stopped when we met Major General Hathurusinghe last Saturday,” Mr. Sumanthiran said.
Mr. Sumanthiran and four other Jaffna District MPs Mavai Senadhiraja, Suresh Premachandran, Sumanthiran and Sri Dharan of the Civil Affairs and Public Relations Office in Jaffna filed a motion asking the Supreme Court to reconvene their withdrawn petition and conduct a hearing.
On a fundamental rights petition by the TNA, the Supreme Court last March had ordered to immediately stop registration of the civilians. Subsequently the MPs had withdrawn their petition, in which they had complained that the military was carrying out involuntary registrations in the northern districts of Jaffna and Kilinochchi.
The Attorney General had given the undertaking before the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices N.G. Amaratunga, P.A. Ratnayake and Chandra Ekanayake on March 3. In this petition they had cited Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Jaffna Security Forces Commander Mahinda Hathurusinghe, military spokesman Udaya Madawala, Jaffna District Government Agent Imelda Sukumar and the Attorney General as respondents.
In their petition the TNA MPs had sought the immediate termination of the forced registration and the practice of photographing residents. They had complained that the residents of Kilinochchi district were forced to sign forms printed and written in Sinhala.
The MPs claimed this form of registration was causing fear and panic among the people of Jaffna and Kilinochchi, criminalizing the entire people of the region and that it was discriminatory whereas this was not happening in the Southern region and in other parts of the country. They said these measures are counterproductive to the goal of achieving reconciliation in the country.
(By Susitha R.Fernando)