10th May 1998
Blair under pressure by Lankans to ban LTTE
By Frederica Jansz
The British government will come under pressure to crack-down on the LTTE when about 70 Sri Lankan organisations there hold a joint protest next Sunday calling for a ban on the terrorist group.
An official of The Sri Lanka Peace Federation in London, Chief organisers of the March said a large number of organisations would take part in the march to lobby for the banning of the LTTE in Britain and the closing down of its offices.
The Sri Lanka Peace Federation in London, chief organizers of the march say, the aim is to lobby for the banning of the LTTE in Britain and closing down its offices.
The LTTE has its international headquarters in East Ham, London. It is from this location that it co-ordinates all fund raising activities, international arms smuggling operations and issue statements to the international media.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, Sri Lankan groups in Britain have urged the British leader to ban the LTTE forthwith, close down their offices and make it illegal for it to raise funds. They have called upon the government of Britain to play its part in combating international terrorism.
A recent report in “The Evening Standard” in London stated that the LTTE collected in excess of 25 million pounds sterling a year in Britain. So far however the British government has refused to ban the LTTE saying it has not broken any laws in that country.
The Home Office in London, maintains the British government is committed to combating vigorously any manifestations of terrorism in Britain. The Home Office further states that the British government currently has the power only to ban groups involved in activities related to Northern Irish terrorism. However the Home Secretary recently announced the British government is preparing a consultation paper which will examine the possibility of banning foreign terrorist organizations operating in Britain. The paper will also set out proposals to introduce permanent legislation aimed at tightening up controls on foreign terrorists seeking to make their base in Britain.
The Home Office claims it is unfortunate that it is difficult to prove a link between money raised in one country and terrorist offences in another.
On February 1st this year, the LTTE organized a march and rally in Central London. The LTTE’s main umbrella front, the United Tamils Organization (UTO) was the chief organizer behind this event which was to mark a protest against the Sri Lankan government and its present military offensive.
Barry Gardiner MP, has been accused of being sympathetic to the Tiger cause and has appeared on LTTE platforms abroad. It is alleged the LTTE gains tremendous political credence from having the presence of British MP on its platforms, so that it can justify what it refers to as the legitimate national struggle of the Tamil people.
Mr Gardiner is reported to have attended an international conference organized by the LTTE in Canada last year. He has also reportedly made public speeches at Sri Lankan gatherings, frequently making comparisons between the Tamil and Scottish people and how Tamils in Sri Lanka should have a political status similar to the Scots in Britain.
On April 15, Sri Lanka told the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, that the LTTE is sustained mostly by funds raised abroad. Sri Lanka has told the world community that international co-operation against LTTE fund raising and arms smuggling is imperative to negotiate a political solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict.
It is alleged that when Tamil asylum seekers land in Britain they are put into filling stations and small corner shops to work, while in return it is mandatory that they give a percentage of their monthly income to the LTTE. The LTTE has been accused of stepping in to fund business of Tamil expatriates abroad and in return the person concerned is expected to contribute towards the LTTE.
Shramadana to remember Premadasa
A big shramadana campaign to commemorate the fifth death anniversary of President Ranasinghe Premadasa will be held in Kataragama on May 16 with more than 6000 people participating.
Though the death anniversary fell on May 1, it was decided by the Premadasa Centre to postpone it for May 15 and 16 as many of the Premadasa supporters would have been attending the May Day rally of the UNP.
On May 15, a Bodhi pooja, a pirith ceremony and a deva pooja will be conducted by 350 monks, at 5.30 p.m.
On May, 16 the shramadana will begin at 7.30 a.m. at Kataragama with the painting of the central Mahadeva Seya at the Gam Udawa site.
Wedding of Sanath J.
The bride dressed in a dull gold saree looking radiant and very confident walked down the aisle at 9.45 am to say “I do” to her husband-to-be Sanath. The bride who checked into the hotel in the early hours of the morning was dressed in the hotel room. By 9.30 the guests started arriving, dressed in the most elegant fashions.
Although it was learned that several Indian cricketers were among the invitees, none of them attended the event. But all his colleagues along with their wives and girl friends came to wish the couple. President Chandrika Kumaratunga who was among the distinguished guest list arrived late for the event. The decor which was mostly done with Jasmines giving it a more traditional touch, the poruwa was shaped like a lotus.
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