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LTTE seeks waiver from driving licence rule
By Chris Kamalendran
The LTTE has demanded that the government waives laws requiring that its cadres carry driving and vehicle licences when in government-controlled areas. The demand came when the LTTE's eastern military leader, Karuna, met Defence Secretary Austin Fernando and the Head of the Scandinavian monitors this week for a five-hour meeting to discuss a variety of issues, including the law and order situation.

Karuna had demanded that the laws connected with driving and riding licence be waived when their members enter the government-controlled areas, as they were not willing to accept the 'government administrative and judicial system immediately'.

Karuna, after the meeting, told journalists that they were fighting against the government administration for all these years because the government's system could not be accepted immediately and therefore the LTTE was not willing to accept their administration and judicial system.

He said the LTTE's position was conveyed to Mr. Fernando at the meeting. The issue had been raised after LTTE members who were entering into cleared areas were told to produce driving and revenue licence, but the members had refused to accede to the request.The government had earlier set November 30 as the deadline for all vehicles entering from uncleared areas into the cleared areas to carry revenue and driving licences, but the LTTE members had failed to obey the instructions. However, civilians travelling from the uncleared areas had followed the instructions.

Interior Ministry Secretary M.N. Junaid told The Sunday Times the deadline was later extended to December 31, but the LTTE members had failed to follow the orders.

"It is an internationally accepted rule that anybody driving a vehicle in any part of the world should possess a valid driving licence," he said. He said the implementing authority was the police and therefore the Interior Ministry had issued the orders. He said the government was prepared to issue on the spot licence for those who were willing to obtain them.

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