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

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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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Sajith blames ‘Viyathmaga doc’

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Cause of Mahara Prison riot:

By Saman Indrajith

The recent Mahara Prison riot erupted as 120 inmates afflicted with COVID-19 had been taken there from the Welikada prison at the behest of a Director in charge of prisoners’ health, who was a Viyathmaga member, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa told Parliament yesterday.

“Many explanations have been given by ministers about the riot at Mahara Prison. The number of deaths is not yet known and around 120 are wounded. One minister said that there was an invisible hand behind the clashes. Another said the motive was to bring the government into disrepute internationally. A theory was concocted that prisoners had taken some narcotic tablets called Reverse and they and fought because they wanted to see blood. But the truth is otherwise. The real cause is that 120 inmates infected with coronavirus were transferred to Mahara from the Welikada prison at the behest of a director in charge of prisoners’ health. That director is a member of the Viyathmaga. Those who were transferred to Mahara prison caused a cluster of 183 persons. As the infection spread fast there was unrest and tension. That was the reason for Mahara riots.”

He said that ministers had their own theories, but one day the truth would surface. “I hope that the ministerial committee appointed to probe the riots will conduct an impartial investigation and they will reveal the truth.”

“Prisoners have rights. I do not wish that this country would permit the perpetuation of the killing culture and state terrorism. The government members should keep in mind that there is a concept called rule of law and we all are expected to uphold it. So, we should dump those theories of Reverse tablets and strive to find the truth.”

Public Security Minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera: The health officer in charge of Mahara Prison is not a member of Viyathmaga.

Opposition Leader Premadasa: I did not say so. What I said was that 120 inmates were transferred from Welikada prison to the Mahara prison violating COVID-19 protocols. That order to transfer those had been given by a doctor who is a member of Viyathmaga. I do not mention his name. You can easily find it.

Chief Government Whip Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said that the Opposition leader talked of lofty ideals of prisoners’ welfare but the yahapalana government had failed to construct at least a single prison to ease the congestion in the prisons. “When I was incarcerated by your government, I was in a cell with 51 other inmates. There was no place to sleep. In the Kegalle prison, they put 225 in a hall enough for 50 inmates. The former government pre-occupied with the task of constructing new courts to imprison its political enemies but did not build a single prison for the benefit of inmates.”

Opposition Leader Premadasa: We did not want to build prisons, we built schools. Mahatma Gandhi has once said that when you open a single school, thousand prisons could be closed. We followed that.

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‘It will take four years to ensure quality of drinking water from small projects’

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By Saman Indrajith

The safety of drinking water from small scale community drinking water projects could guaranteed only after the implementation of a project to check the quality of water and that would take four years, Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara told Parliament yesterday.

The Minister said so, when Matara District SJB MP Buddhika Pathirana pointed out that although the safety of drinking water from the National Water Supply and Drainage Board was guaranteed the same could not be said of water from small scale projects.

“There are many harmful elements in water such as lead, cadmium and mercury. We know that Water Board supplied water is purified, but water from small scale project could be contaminated with them. It is said that mercury in a CFL bulb has the potential to pollute around 6,000 litres of ground water and causing kidney diseases. This is a dangerous situation. One trillion rupees have been allocated for the Water Supply ministry. Apart from the COVID-19 threat, the biggest threat to the lives of people in this country is from non-communicable diseases. Can the ministry introduce a mechanism to provide each district with at least a single testing unit to ensure the safety of drinking water supplied by the small scale community drinking water projects.”

Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that safety of water from the Water Board was guaranteed owing to sophisticated purification methods employed by treatment plants. He said that it would take at least four years to provide testing units to ensure drinking water from the small scale community drinking water projects countrywide too is safe from harmful elements.

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Teachers’ Union boss Stalin accuses govt of attempting Akila’s failed stunt

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

There was an attempt to create a new post, Director General – Sports, at the Ministry of Education and to appoint a political henchman, Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) General Secretary, Joseph Stalin told The Island yesterday.

“According to the Education Administrative Service minute, any appointment has to be made through a competitive exam. However, this post has been created through a Cabinet paper and an SLPP henchman is to be appointed to it.”

The CTU General Secretary said that during the yahapalanaya administration, then Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam had tried to appoint a UNP henchman to the post of Director – Sports at the Ministry. Kariyawasam had been compelled to back off due to the stiff opposition of the education sector unions, Stalin said.

“The court has also ruled that people should be appointed in keeping with the Education Administrative Service Minute. The President came into power promising to uphold the rule of law, but this government, too, is attempting to undermine the education system by appointing unqualified people to high posts.”

The post of Director General – Sports would have the same perks of an Assistant Secretary and the person to be appointed was a person representing a government affiliated union, Stalin said.

“95% of unions of the education sector will oppose if the government creates this post for the benefit of a henchman. We will resort to trade union and legal action.”

Minister of Education, Prof. G. L. Peiris was not immediately available for comment.

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