One did not fly over
[TamilNet, Friday, 03 December 2010, 04:54 GMT]
It was billed as a ‘private’ visit. But when Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse flew to Britain on Monday, the entourage he took with him included Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris, Education Minister S.B.Dissanayake and even a Provincial Council member, Nauzer Fauzi, amongst other politicians. Also came Sri Lanka Army Major General Chagi Gallage – though he was Thursday reportedly scrambling to find a flight out to escape an arrest warrant UK lawyers are building a case for. The only member of President Rajapsksa’s entourage not to get a visa to Britain, The Times newspaper reports, was Tamil paramilitary leader and ruling party Parliamentarian, Douglas Devananda.
Mr. Devananda, heads the paramilitary group-cum-political party, the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP).
The EPDP, which works closely with Sri Lanka’s military intelligence, has been integral to Sri Lanka’s murderous ‘shadow war’, as international ceasefire monitors dubbed it in 2004, against the Tamil liberation struggle.
Aside from spearheading the assassination of individuals suspected of working for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the EPDP’s gunmen have murdered Tamil journalists, political activists, aid workers and other advocates of Tamil self-determination and independence.
The EPDP has for years shown up in reports by Amnesty International and other human rights groups accused of summary executions, ‘disappearances’ and torture.
Nonetheless, registered as a political party in Sri Lanka – one always allied with the ruling Sinhala party and President, the EPDP was for long understood as an ‘anti-LTTE Tamil party’ and killings of its gunmen, members and supporters were seen as the LTTE’s ‘intolerance’ of dissent.