LTTE to be banned; decision next week

By Chris Kamalendran

Hard on the heels of the successful campaign to re-capture Kilinochchi, the Government is formulating plans to proscribe the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on grounds that it is a “terrorist” organisation.

Government’s legal experts are examining whether such a ban should be under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) or under provisions of the Emergency Regulations. On December 22, President Rajapaksa called on the LTTE to release with the dawn of 2009 all “innocent Tamils it is holding hostage, in bondage and using them as human shields and allow them to come to the safe areas provided for them by the Government and the Security Forces

.” He was addressing religious dignitaries, ministers, senior administrators and leading members of the private sector to thank them for the co-operation extended to the government last year.

Defence Spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the matter of proscribing the LTTE was likely to come up for discussion at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. “We waited for the LTTE to heed our President’s appeal. It has not done so. We are coming under heavy public pressure to act,” he told The Sunday Times.

The LTTE was first banned on January 27, 1998 after it bombed the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy. After the Ceasefire Agreement of February 2002, then Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe wanted to initiate talks with the LTTE. As a result the ban was lifted on September 5, 2002.

It was immediately thereafter that the first round of peace talks were held in a naval base at Sattahip in Thailand.

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