MP denied entry for not following procedure: Immigration Chief

By Leon Berenger

The Indian lawmaker who was refused entry to the country on Wednesday this week was denied a visa simply because he did not follow protocol procedures, Immigration and Emigration Controller Chulalanda Perera said yesterday.

He said Thol Thirumawalan - a member of the Lok Sabha - who had arrived with two others was turned away since he failed to convince the duty officer at the Immigration desk of his true intention in visiting the country.

“Apart from that the MP had entered the country in a private capacity and not as an Indian politician. Therefore the Immigration Officer was well within his rights to deny an entry visa. If he had intended to visit the country in a VIP capacity then he should have first informed the Indian Embassy in Colombo which in turn would have got in touch with the External Affairs Ministry and then the Immigration and Emigration Department would have been informed. But this was not the case,” Mr. Perera said.

According to reports from across the Palk Strait the MP that entered the country to attend the funeral of Parvathi Thiruvengadasalam, slain Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s mother who died on Sunday last week. However Mr. Perera said he was not aware of such an intention by the MP only to add that he was turned away since his answers failed to convince the Immigration authorities at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA).

The Indian MP was later arrested with some 800 supporters after they put to the torch the lion flag and an effigy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa outside the gates of the Sri Lanka’s Deputy High Commissioner’s office in Chennai. They were subsequently released.

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