Source: ST Business Times Editorial
“…………………..The newspaper report said this provision was being applied from November onwards. It was apparently announced at a media briefing by M. Sarath Kumara, the Commissioner of the Registration of Person Department and is effective from November 1.
Yet there are no public notices in the media or through a gazette notification (as far as we are aware) to inform the people……………”
A couple of years ago during a local government election campaign, a group of activists from the then ruling party came visiting houses in the Nugegoda/Nawala area with the usual greetings and one ‘strange’ question: “How many of the occupants registered as voters are working abroad or living abroad?”
When they walked into the garden of a journalist, his angry response to this, then peculiar question coming from a group that was not authorized to ask such questions, was, “Why do you want to know. What authority do you have?” First surprised with the response, they hemmed and hawed with an ‘Err … Sir … just… No, for our information…” When the journalist went on the offensive, declaring that “they were trying to elicit this information to note the number of voters overseas, and then use these votes illegally…,” they beat a hasty retreat.
A few months ago, a policeman in a particular village in the Puttalam district was repeatedly harassing a live-alone woman whose husband was working abroad and demanding sexual favours. Fearing for her safety, she filed a complaint with a higher police authority and eventually the corrupt officer was transferred.
These are some of the serious issues that would arise and threaten the safety and security of families where one parent is living abroad, if the Government goes ahead with a decision asking Sri Lankans to surrender their NIC (identity card) to the Commissioner of the Registration of Persons Department or his designated nominees (that is the Police or other authorised persons) if they are staying abroad for over six months. Continue reading