"UNF to take constructive decision on LTTE ban" -PM
[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 March 2002, 21:03 GMT]
A parliamentary delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Thursday held a wide ranging discussion with the Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe on several issues, including the lifting of ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the postponement of the local government elections in the Northeast province scheduled to take place on March 25. A spokesman of the TNA delegation told TamilNet that the Prime Minister had assured that the government would take a constructive decision in regard to the lifting the ban on the LTTE at the appropriate time.
The TNA delegation comprised Messrs Mr. R.Sampanthan (TNA parliamentary group leader) and parliamentarians V.Anandasangaree, Joseph Pararajasingham, Mavai Senathirajah, K.Thangavadivel, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and N.Raviraj. The discussion took place at the parliamentary complex.
The TNA delegation urged the Prime Minister to take immediate steps to lift the ban on the LTTE before the commencement of the proposed peace talks between the UNF government and the LTTE. The delegation pointed out that the Tamil people at the last general election gave a mandate to the TNA to work for the removal of the ban on the LTTE. The delegation told the Prime Minister that the TNA stood firm in its demand for the de-proscription of the LTTE.
The Prime Minister replied that the de-proscription of the LTTE was a matter to be taken up when the question of commencing of peace ta lks between the government and the LTTE arose. The Prime Minister assured the TNA de legation that his government would give due consideration to this and take a constructive decision, at the appropriate time, according to TNA sources.
The TNA delegation requested the Prime Minister to take immediate steps to release all Tamil prisoners now detained at various prisons and detention camps in the south of the country under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
The delegation brought to the notice of the Prime Minister that although the Attorney General had instructed the authorities to withdraw all cases against Tamil prisoners indicted under Section 5 of the PTA for failing to provide information to the security forces about the movements of the LTTE members, the detainees were still languishing in jails as the prosecuting officers are awaiting for the next date of such cases to be heard in respective High Courts to move for their release. The TNA delegation made a plea to the Prime Minister to order the authorities concerned to make applications in courts to advance the dates of such cases to facilitate the detainees to be discharged early.
The TNA delegation further brought to the notice of the PM that more than ninety nine percent of the Tamil detainees indicted under the PTA cases only on their confessions purported to have been made by them to the security forces are getting released as the prosecution failed to prove those confessions obtained from them were voluntary. As such the action should be taken immediately to release all the detainees kept in prisons and detentions only on their confessions. The delegation requested that detainees indicted in cases in which state witnesses continuously failed to attend inquiries in these cases should be released without any delay.
The Prime Minister replied that the Attorney General had appointed a special committee to go into the question of releasing PTA detainees as early as possible.
Referring to the TNA's demand of postponing the local government elections in the northeast province, which is scheduled to be held on March 25, the Prime Minister had stated that he would give favourable consideration to the question.
The Prime Minister informed the TNA delegation that the resettlement of internally displaced people and refugees in their own areas would be expedited after the passage of the first budget of the UNF government.
The TNA delegation brought to the notice of the Prime Minister the difficult situation in the Eastern province in regard to the free movement of goods to the villages held by the LTTE even after signing the cease-fire agreement between the government and the LTTE. The delegation wanted that the people of the east also should be allowed to enjoy the benefits of the agreement.
22.01.02 Don't exploit LTTE ban for narrow gains -Ranil
20.01.02 "Lift ban on LTTE, postpone local elections" -TULF