Rising Crime Rate In Jaffna Worries Experts

December 08, 2014

The phenomenon of rising crime in Jaffna after the end of the war is worrying experts, The New Indian Express reported. It further mentions that while it was once a place known for its law-abiding citizens, today’s Jaffna is a happy hunting ground of criminals and law-breakers.

Sebastian Nehru, a Jaffna resident who had worked in the UK police has told TNIE, “The crime rate is very high. Twenty to 30 bicycles are stolen every day in Jaffna town alone. Seventy per cent of the motorbikes here have no license. The police, mostly non-Tamil, turn a blind eye, and the courts give bail because there aren’t enough prisons.”

Meanwhile, Dr Muthukrishna Sarvananthan of the Point Pedro Institute of Development gives the high rate of unemployment as one cause for the phenomenon.

“The unemployment rate in Sri Lanka as a whole is 18 per cent, while in the Tamil-dominated North Province it is 31.2 per cent. There has been a 76 per cent increase in financial outlays on developmental projects in the Northern Province, but these investments have increased employment by 5 per cent only,” Sarvananthan has said.

Unemployment is partly due to youth not taking up blue collar work, A R Jeyamanon of the Board of Investment in Jaffna has said.

“Money sent by relatives abroad has spoilt the youth here. They only want white collar jobs. The result is, industries are not coming up here,” Jeyamanon has further mentioned.

Meanwhile, Thiyagarajah Nirosh, a social activist, attributed the malaise to lack of role models or ideals in the post-war scenario. “Creation of opportunities for higher education will keep the youth engaged,” he has further mentioned.

Dr Daya Somasundaram, Jaffna University psychiatrist, has said government and civil society should create opportunities for the youth and build up leaders, as these can motivate others.
(with inputs from The New Indian Express)