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‘De-listing LTTE will create a precedent with other terror groups like Al-Qaeda also following suit’



Academic cautions British govt.:

By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

A British academic suggested that the people living in the United Kingdom should use the political route to express their concerns to their local MPs on the potential dangers of de-proscribing the LTTE.

The possible lifting of the ban on the terror movement could be viewed as a softening of the British government’s stand towards extremist groups, says Dr. Prakash Shah, Reader in Culture and Law, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, UK.

“Some Indian communities might also react negatively to the de-proscription as the LTTE operated extensively in Tamil Nadu”, he said.

Shah was responding to a question by State Minister Sarath Weerasekera on how the people could exert pressure on the British Parliament to ensure the LTTE is not de-listed, at a webinar in London last week to discuss the consequences for the Indian subcontinent and its geopolitical stability if the ban was lifted.

The event was organized by the Ontario Centre for Policy Research in Canada in collaboration with partners in the UK and India, following the open judgment by the Proscribed Organizations Appeals Commission (POAC) of the United Kingdom to allow the Appeal made by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) front organization challenging the decision of the UK Secretary of State for Home Affairs.

The application by the group to de-proscribe the LTTE from the list of Proscribed Organizations under the UK Terrorism Act of 2000, was refused on March 8, 2019.

The people should appraise their local MPs of the current situation and express their concern over the move, he noted, while recounting the LTTE was banned by the British government after consulting the Sri Lanka High Commission, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, Community Impact Assessment and the Proscription Review Group.

The possible outcome of the appeal could be the de-proscription of the LTTE by Her Majesty’s Government (HMG). If HMG receives a de-listing order from the POAC, it would trigger an order to be laid before Parliament, Shah further said.

HMG could appeal against the POAC decision and undertake to go back and make its decision again more soundly, bearing in mind shortcoming identified by the Commission, the academic continued.

Although the LTTE was defeated by Sri Lanka Army on May 18, 2009, their international network was still active. They have not publicly stated that they will denounce violence. They have no remorse for the atrocities they committed, said Dr. Neville Hewage, Adjunct Professor, International Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Law, Laurentian University, Canada.

He said the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), described as a ‘government in exile’, is a proxy organization of the LTTE. Its leader Rudrakumaran was reprimanded by a US Court for defrauding his clients.

If the British government de-proscribes the LTTE, it will create a precedent, with other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda also following suit.

Manish Uprety, Ex-Diplomat, Alumnus of the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India, said the LTTE failed in Tamil Nadu but succeeded in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is a very important strategic location. The US and Indian governments do not want Sri Lanka to be destabilized fearing the country will move towards China and Pakistan, he remarked.

“Britain cannot allow this to happen by destabilizing Sri Lanka”, he opined.

The moderator of the webinar was former Deputy Director of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst Colonel Dr. Myszka Guzkowska.

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PSC action could cripple health services, warns GMOA Secretary



There were vacancies for 89 specialist doctors in government teaching hospitals due to certain actions taken by the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said yesterday.

GMOA secretary Dr. Senal Fernando yesterday told The Island those vacancies had the potential to cripple the state health service, as the service was stressed due to COVID-19.

Dr. Fernando said: “Specialist doctors are appointed and transfered according to procedures established by the Health Service Minute. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the transfers and the PSC should oversee the transfering process to ensure that they are made in a proper manner.”

“The PSC has ordered the appointment of a committee to look into the matter but there is no mention of such a committee in the Health Service Minute. Instead of following the process, the PSC has tried to intervene in the process and 89 posts remain vacant during the time of COVID-19,” he said.

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Hizbullah denies links with Zahran



But signed agreement for Zahran’s help in 2015 GE

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Former Governor of the Eastern Province, M. L. A. M. Hizbullah on Monday night told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing Easter Sunday attacks, that he had not had any links to National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim. The NTJ members had assaulted his supporters at Kattankudy in March 2017, he said.

Hizbullah said so when the Commissioners asked him about his links with Zahran.

Hizbullah was also asked about billions of rupees he had received from foreign organisations since 2016. Earlier in the day, it was revealed that close to Rs. 4 billion had been deposited by foreign individuals and institutions in two accounts Hizbullah operated at the Bank of Ceylon Colpetty Branch from 2016 to 2019.

The witness said the Sri Lanka Hira Foundation, a social service institution run by him, had received money from foreign countries after March 2016.

“Ali Abdullah al-Juffali of Saudi Arabia gave Rs. 308 million and Siddique and Diana Osmond of London gave Rs. 5.5 million,” he said.

Hizbullah added that he knew al-Juffali and some other Saudi philanthropists. Al Juffali family was one of the richest Saudis with an estimated worth USD 19.8 billion, he said.

Then, a video of a discussion Zahran had with Sibli Farooq of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was played at the PCoI.

The video showed Zahran and Farooq talking about a sum of one million riyals that Hizbullah had allegedly received from Saudi Arabia. In the video, Zahran says that he had no problem with Hizbullah receiving money from Saudi Arabia.

In response, Hizbullah said that by the 2015 Presidential election, Farooq and Zahran had been against him. A member of the Commission then asked why Hizbullah had entered into an agreement with Zahran during an election if he had acted against him.

Hizbullah said Zahran had told, on social media, that he would support politicians who agreed to some of his proposals.” All the parties joined him. I also went along,” he said. Earlier, it was revealed that representatives for the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC,) Democratic Party, UNP, UPFA and National Front for Good Governance (NFGG) had signed agreements with Zahran in exchange for the support of NTJ in 2015.

Hizbullah was also questioned on the Aliyar clash between NTJ and Sunnath Wal Jamaat, a group that supported Hizbullah, on 10 March, 2017.

“Did you ask Zahran to surrender to the court through his mother?” a member of the Commission questioned.

“I made no such comment. I do not know if anyone in my party did so,” he said.

The Commissioners also asked Hizbullah about growing date palms in the Kattankudy area and placing Arabic billboards.

The witness replied that he had grown date palms because of the high temperatures in the area. Nameplates with Arabic letters had been put up to attract Arabic students as they were largely visiting the area, he said.

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CA annuls summons issued on President



The Court of Appeal yesterday annulled the summons issued on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the disappearance of two persons in Jaffna in 2011.

Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan went missing in 2011. Last year, Jaffna Magistrate’s Court issued summons on Rajapaksa over a habeas corpus petition filed by the relatives of the two missing activists. They had named Rajapaksa one of the respondents since he was the Defence Secretary at the time of the disappearances.

Earlier, Rajapaksa had submitted a writ application stating that he found it difficult to appear before the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court due to security reasons. The Court of Appeal issued an injunction preventing Rajapaksa being summoned by the Magistrate.

President of the Court of Appeal A. H. M. D. Nawaz, declaring their decision, said that a Magistrate’s Court could only issue summons over a specific reason. However the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court had issued the summons based on a motion of a lawyer and that there was no legal basis for the summons. Thus, the Court of Appeal issued a writ notification declaring the summons issued by the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court void.



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