Mon. Nov 23rd, 2020

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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