ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday December 9, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 28

Agreement violated, says Sri Lanka to Britain

~ Heroes’ day commemoration in London

Sri Lanka has alerted Britain at the highest political level that the organisers of the ‘Heroes Day’ commemoration here had violated an agreement with the Metropolitan Police and carried LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s speech live from the Wanni.

The Sri Lanka High Commission is believed to have written to British Government leaders saying that the British Tamil Forum, organisers of the event, had agreed to conditions set by the police that they would not relay the Tiger leader’s speech, will not display LTTE flags or symbols and would not engage in fund raising at the ceremony held at Excel in East London on November 27.

However the organisers had breached this memorandum of understanding with the police and carried the speech live and are suspected to have raised funds by selling flowers and other memorabilia. The High Commission is also believed to have protested to Government leaders that three Labour Party MPs had spoken at the event which was intended to mark LTTE supremo Prabhakaran’s birthday and hail the fallen cadres of the LTTE which is proscribed in Britain as a terrorist organisation.

Particular mention is understood to have been made of Keith Vaz, MP for Leicester East, whose sentiments in support of the LTTE and an independent Eelam state could have compromised his position as chair of the parliamentary select committee on home affairs.

It is understood that the Metropolitan Police are studying video clips of the event to ascertain whether there is evidence of a breach of the British terrorism law in which case the matter would be handed over to the Crown Prosecution Service. Meanwhile there was speculation in some Tamil circles that Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, alias ‘Col.’ Karuna Amman had been discreetly returned to Sri Lanka by the British authorities who had been holding him at an immigration detention centre in Oakington on immigration charges.

‘Col.’ Karuna who is reported to have entered Britain on a genuine Sri Lanka diplomatic passport and with a British entry visa, was arrested several weeks ago for travelling on a passport that did not belong to him. According to reports from Colombo, the visa was obtained from the British High Commission in Colombo on a third person note sent by the Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry.

The Sri Lanka High Commission here said it had not been informed by the British authorities of any intention to repatriate Karuna. Informed sources said it was unlikely that Karuna would have been sent back to Colombo unless his application for asylum had been dispensed with expeditiously. Legal sources said that even if that had been done the appeal process to which Karuna was entitled to could not have been exhausted yet.

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