Colombo airport infested with intelligence sleuths

(December 29, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian)Following the debacle visit of the President Mahinda Rajapakse to speak at the prestigious Oxford Union, the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse has ordered heavy screening of inbound passengers to the airport.

In addition to passengers being screened at the immigration desks, large number of Defence Ministry intelligence officials are stopping and interviewing passengers.

The intelligence officials are seen at the lobby and outside the airport. They were seen holding airline passenger lists. The passengers are stopped and probed for their involvement with the campaign against the government overseas. According to sources, Tamils are selectively targeted by these officials.

Sources also said, passengers from UK are put through rigorous interviews whereas those travelling from Asian countries are not harassed.

One passenger, a leading businessman travelling from Madras said ‘the experience outside the airport is very harrowing’. ‘You do not need this after travelling for over eight to ten hours’ he said. He further claimed these officials were dressed in civilian and even have taken some of the passengers in unmarked vehicles.

Sri Lanka Guardian tried to contact the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse on his mobile number to clarify the reasons for the clampdown, but his line remained switched off.

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