COLOMBO:By a gazette extraordinary issued on Friday, the Sri Lankan government lifted the ban on several outfits and individuals previously thought to have been working for the LTTE.
On March 21, 2014, 16 organisations and 424 individuals were proscribed under the UN Act No: 45 of 1968. But, the latest gazette notification bans only eight organisations and 155 individuals.
The de-listed organisations are: Global Tamil Forum (GTF); British Tamil Forum (BTF); National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT); Tamil Youth Organization (TYO); World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC); Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC); Australian Tamil Congress (ATC); Tamil National Council (TNC).
Organisations which are still banned are: the LTTE; Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO); Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC); World Tamil Movement (WTM); Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE); Tamil Eelam Peoples’ Assembly (TEPA); World Tamils’ Relief Fund (WTRF) and Headquarters Group (HQG).
Enunciating the Sirisena government’s policy, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had said in parliament on March 18: “Reviewing this list of individuals and entities is an important exercise at this juncture when the Sirisena government is committed to expediting the reconciliation process.”
The initial proscription by the Rajapaksa government was done in haste, and was not subject to a rigorous process of assessment, the Minister pointed out. “It was done to build up hysteria about LTTE regrouping. There was hardly any tangible evidence to link them to the LTTE. Some of those sought had died,” he said.
The present government’s calculation is that Lankan law enforcement and intelligence agencies will now be able to target their resources more accurately and purposefully. It is legally committed to reviewing the list annually and the expectation is that organisations and individuals who publicly abjure separatism and violence will be de-listed.
Canada accounts for the single largest number of wanted persons. Twenty-two of the wanted are in Canada. Denmark comes second with 17; Sri Lanka 14; UK and the Netherlands account for 12 each; France 11; Germany 8; India 7; Italy 4; Malaysia 3; Norway 2; US 1 and Thailand 1. The wanted man in the US is Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, head of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TNGTE). Interpol Red Notices stand against 26. The two Sinhalese among the wanted are Gunaratna Bandula Gajaweera of Akkaraipattu and A Chaminda Darshana of Trincomalee. The latter is believed to be in India.
Apart from Gajaweera, others believed to be hiding in India are: Sivaganasundaram Sivakaran; Aganila alias Gemini; Amuthan; Suresh alias Kapil Msater; Rajendran Murthy; Velupillai Revathan; Vigneswaran Parameswari.
Timing of Gazette
It is significant that the Gazette notification de-listing half of the proscribed organisations and 63 percent of the proscribed individuals, was issued a day ahead of the visit to Colombo of Samantha Power, the US Permanent Representative in the UN, an expert on genocide and an advisor to President Barack Obama.