Govt. moves to silence Tamil Diaspora threat

By Leon Berenger

The Government has sought the assistance of several countries to combat Tamil Diaspora elements allegedly behind the illegal fund raising for the outlawed LTTE and a spate of violent attacks on Sri Lankan interests abroad, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said.

He said the so-called inner circle made up of criminal elements was raking in an estimated 300 million dollars annually from the Tamil Diaspora and this money in turn funded the separatist war in Sri Lanka and was channelled into various illegal trading ranging from narcotic to arms smuggling.

“It is learnt that this group is actively discouraging the Tamil Diaspora from returning home or investing in the country by spreading scare stories and the Government has sought the cooperation of the relevant authorities in those countries to counter this threat”, he said.

The minister said Sri Lanka was maintaining constant ‘intelligence sharing meetings’ with several countries at the highest levels and several names and organizations of this inner group were already in their files.

Mr. Bogollagama said Sri Lanka was making direct contact with certain Tamil Diaspora representatives who were eager to return to the country.

“In March we held a meeting with 21 Tamil Diaspora representatives and local Tamil party leaders. The outcome was very encouraging.

“We have repeatedly urged the Tamil Diaspora to return home and make use of the opportunity that is now available to better their personal interests on one hand and that of the country on the other,” the minister said.

An estimated 1.2 million Sri Lankan Tamils live overseas, mainly in Europe and North America. The bulk of them fled the country to escape the separatist war in the north and east.

Mr. Bogollagama said the Government had also launched a major diplomatic offensive in several foreign capitals to counter the pro-LTTE activities and had sent out fresh instructions to the Sri Lankan diplomatic community to vigorously work towards this end.

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