The war is over but state terror prevails

| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(December 10, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) TID (Terrorism Investigation Department) police arrests and detention at the airport for many Sri Lankans led a UK judge to order the Home Office to bring back a family of asylum seekers it removed nearly six years ago.
The same government pulled out all stops to send Karuna, former LTTE army commander, to UK on a forged passport and even when UK imprisoned him managed to use back-door diplomacy to bring him back and give him ministerial portfolio!!!
The family of five Sri Lankans were removed in 2006 but the High Court ruled they were unlawfully detained during the process and demanded they be brought back. The court made the judgment even though it accepted it was uncertain once they had been returned and dealt with appropriately that they would be allowed to stay in the UK.
Despite the war having ended two and a half years ago the government is pursuing returning Sri Lankans with the paranoia of the Police Superintendent in Les Miserables who sets out on a frantic mission to apprehend a poor man who stole bread from a bakery to feed his starving family decades after his crime.
Confounding these arrests and detention at the airport are the infamous `white van’ abduction committed by Douglas Devananda, Karuna and Pillayan groups with the direct blessings of the government. The cancer is spreading thick and fast in Colombo and other provinces which makes the Eelam war pale into insignificance.
Several Sri Lankans, mainly Tamils, have been abducted for ransom and killed for not coughing up exorbitant sums of money running into millions of rupees. Fleeing the country from the war to save their lives the refugees work day and night to bring up a family, learn to live in a totally alien culture in the West and when they long to go home they are pursued like criminals by the government.
The same government pulled out all stops to send Karuna, former LTTE army commander, to UK on a forged passport and even when UK imprisoned him managed to use back-door diplomacy to bring him back and give him ministerial portfolio!!!
Another minister Douglas Devananda, a well-known terrorist has been enjoying government munificence and free reign in the North and East since the early nineties. And he is wanted in India on murder charges. It is an open secret that he commands these `white van’ abductions and murders.
Interpol is after KP, the arms procurer for the LTTE but the government is protecting him and providing him with ultra comfort in one of the most expensive mansions in the heart of Colombo.
If the UN is pursuing Sri Lanka for war crimes it also has the mandate to investigate the `white van’ abductions and TID crimes. The latter two are still leaving the country in total fear psychosis, end of the war notwithstanding.
(The writer is Asia Pacific Journalism Fellow at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, California and a print journalist for 21 years. She can be reached at pearltheva@hotmail.com)

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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