Sri Lanka evicts ‘loitering’ Tamils from capital

COLOMBO, June 1, 2007 (AFP) – Hundreds of minority Tamils have been asked to leave Sri Lanka’s capital and return to their villages, some in conflict areas, because they are a “threat to national security,” police said Friday. Police Inspector-General Victor Perera said Tamils from the embattled northern and eastern provinces were spending long periods of time in Colombo without any work.

“Those who are loitering in Colombo will be sent home. We will give them transport,” Perera told reporters here. “We are doing this to protect the people and because of a threat to national security.”

Tamils are required to obtain permits to travel to the rest of the country from the police under a de facto visa system put in place to prevent Tiger rebels infiltrating the capital.

The guerrillas fighting for a Tamil homeland were blamed for two bomb attacks that killed nine people and wounded 44 in and around the capital last week.

Earlier this week, the police virtually sealed the capital for three hours to check every vehicle and passengers entering the city of 600,000 people.

Perera, a member of the majority Sinhalese community, denied media reports that 56 lodges, or hostels, in Colombo had been asked to evic