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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2679

Time Ripe for Banning LTTE IN Australia: High Commissioner Balapatabendi

Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Australia K. Balapatabendi, PC made a convincing case for proscribing the LTTE in Australia. In a well argued brief sent to the Australian government he stated that the recently concluded elections to the Provincial Council in the East where the LTTE held sway for decades showed that the people have rejected terrorism.

He added "The results of the elections to the Eastern Provincial Council distinctly show the peoples endorsement of the Government's policy of restoring democracy and bringing normalcy to areas that were suppressed by the terrorists during the last three decades."

He concluded that "The Sinhalese, Muslims and the Tamils together voted overwhelmingly for the Government despite violent attempts by the LTTE targeting innocent civilians, attacking ships carrying food, medicine and other essential items to the Northern and Eastern Provinces. In spite of all hindrances, the people have categorically rejected separatism and terrorism. A total number of 591,676 (65.78%) voters exercised their franchise to elect the Provincial Council for the Eastern Province."

Here is the full text of Ambassador Balapetabendi'd appeal to the Australian government'

I has have the honor to keep you informed of the significant developments in Sri Lanka in sequel to the Provincial Council Elections of the Eastern Province held for the first time in accordance with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution enacted in 1987 particularly in the context of the on-going conflict perpetrated by the LTTE terrorists. he added "The results of the elections to the Eastern Provincial Council distinctly show the peoples' endorsement of the Government's policy of restoring democracy and bringing normalcy to areas that were suppressed by the terrorists during the last three decades.

The President of Sri Lanka having liberated the people of the Eastern Province by defeating the terrorists, took urgent steps to develop the Eastern Province rapidly to benefit those people who suffered for over three decades and sought to give them the democratic rights they were denied for the last three decades and as a first step held the Local Government elections and gave the power to the people to elect their own representatives by ballet. The next step was to grant the people of the Eastern Province the right to govern their Province in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Sri Lanka and held the Elections to the Provincial Council of the Eastern Province covering 3 Districts, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara, on the 10th May 2008. The results of the elections to the Eastern Provincial Council distinctly show the peoples endorsement of the Government's policy of restoring democracy and bringing normalcy to areas that were suppressed by the terrorists during the last three decades.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his statement following the successful conclusion of this first election to the Eastern Provincial Council said that "this election is another important milestone in the Government" policy of restoring democratic rights to the people in areas once dominated by the LTTE and of ensuring democracy throughout the island". He stated that voters of the Eastern Province who participated in this election in a very peaceful and orderly manner have demonstrated their interest in protecting democratic rights. He further stated that "this election emphasizes the policy of the Government to create an environment in which all our people could enjoy democratic rights and live in freedom and harmony. The people of the East have given a clear mandate for peace through the defeat of terrorism, the strengthening of democracy and the development of the country" He reiterated that the representatives of the people chosen in this peaceful election represent the will of the people, and that he looks forward to their cooperation in the country's march to strengthen and widen democracy throughout the country and for assistance in the tasks already initiated to develop the Eastern Province".

The election to the Provincial Council was contested by the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA - (Government), the United National Party (UNP - (Opposition), the People's Liberation Front (pro-Marxists) several Tamil political parties and several independent groups. The UPFA (government) recorded a historic victory in this first ever Provincial Council Election securing 20 seats out of 37 seats on offer, polling 51.2I% of the total votes. The UNP (Opposition) obtained 42.38% of the total votes receiving 15 seats while the People's Liberation Front (Pro Marxist) obtained 1.59% with one member elected, while the Tamil Democratic National Alliance received 1.30 percent and one seat, the Eelam People's Democratic: Paw received 0.92 percent and did not win a single seat and all others received less than one per cent.

The United People's Freedom Alliance {Government) secured 308,886 votes while the UNP (Opposition) secured 250,732 votes, People's Liberation Front {Pro-Marxists) secured 9,390 votes and the Tamil Democratic National Alliance secured 7,714 votes. A notable feature of this election is that all the LTTE backed parties and racially oriented political parties did not even get one per cent of the votes.

The large turn over for the election in a very peaceful manner demonstrated the, keenness and interest of the people of the Eastern Province who have been yearning for liberation and emancipation to achieve democratic rights which they had lost due to suppression by the LTTE terrorists. The final results of the Eastern Provincial Council election of 10th May 2008 is a positive mandate of the people's will and their vision for the future as declared by H.E. the President.

The Sinhalese, Muslims and the Tamils together voted overwhelmingly for the Government despite violent attempts by the LTTE targeting innocent civilians, attacking ships carrying food, medicine and other essential items to the Northern and Eastern Provinces. In spite of all hindrances, the people have categorically rejected separatism and terrorism. A total number of 591,676 (65.78%) voters exercised their franchise to elect the Provincial Council for the Eastern Province.

This election has been declared by all foreign monitoring institutions that were on the spot as a peaceful and orderly conducted election.

Thirty years of terrorism perpetrated by the LTTE demanding a separate state for themselves in the North and the East have resulted only in the devastation of the North and East with escalation of killing of a large number of reputed Tamil leaders, the last in April this year, of Hon. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Senior Minister of the Cabinet and Chief Government Whip, beginning with many Tamil leaders such as Alfred Thuraiappa, Mayor of Jaffna, Hon. Amidhalingam, President of the Tamil United Liberation Front, M.R. for Jaffna and Leader of the Opposition of Sri Lanka Parliament, Dr. Neelam Thivuchelvarn, President's Counsel, Eminent Jurist and M.P. representing the Tamils, Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar, prominent Tamil from Jaffna, one time President of Oxford Union, Barrister and renowned international figure and former Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka for nearly 10 years.

You would recall my previous appeal addressed to Your Excellency as to "why the Government sought to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement" which was a dead letter with no benefit to the people or the country except the Terrorists to procure arms, consolidate their strength and kill a large number of innocent civilians and their political opponents. The strength of the LTTE Ties not in their man power which is around 5,000 but in the funds raised illegally around the world. It is regrettable to note that the Government of Sri Lanka is being sometimes criticized by International Institutions alleging violations of human rights for which the Government is not directly responsible, as terrorism of LTTE is the cause of violence En Sri Lanka.

You would also recall my reference in the previous appeal to you that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has already declared, on the recommendation of the All Party Representatives Committee, of 13 out of the 14 political parties in Parliament, to commence negotiations based on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Sri Lanka which is an extract from the Indian Constitution introduced after the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord signed by Sri Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India, who was also assassinated by the LTTE, for proposing a solution to end the conflict.

In the above circumstances, it is my earnest appeal to the Government of Australia to seriously consider banning the LTTE in Australia as done by more than 30 other countries including UK, US, Canada, India and EU. I believe there is sufficient evidence to do so as the Government has already instituted action in Courts. The Tamils of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka have not only rejected the LTTE terrorists but have also rejected Separatism and categorically declared their will far democracy and unity with all other communities to live in harmony as one nation. The demand of the LTTE for a separate state (EELAM) and their continuing violence and terrorist activities are to capture not only the two provinces Northern and Eastern out of the nine Provinces of Sri Lanka alleging that it is their homeland but also vast extents from other Provinces, This demand is totally unsustainable as the majority of the Tamil people as much as 60% now live outside the Eastern and Northern Provinces. They live quite comfortably, in total harmony with others, Sinhalese and Muslims, in the South of Sri Lanka. Their struggle is to capture one third of the land mass of the island which is in extent 65,000 sq, km. Sri Lanka has a population of 20 million people. It is smaller than Tasmania. It is well known that of the 11.9% Tamil population of Sri Lanka, at least one third of them are living in foreign countries such as US, UK, Canada, Europe, Australia etc. Of the balance nearly 60% live outside the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the peace loving Tamils are regularly moving out of the North to the South, for protection and comfortable living. Their demand for a separate state is baseless, unreasonable and illogical. In the process of ethnic cleansing they killed and ejected all Muslims and all the Sinhalese who lived for decades in the Northern Province at the very beginning of the struggle. It is therefore, our fervent hope that the International Community will take serious notice of this situation and enforce appropriate measures to prevent the LlTE continuing violence and terrorist action utilizing funds illegally raised by their front organizations in many countries including Australia. Banning the LlTE will help to eradicate terrorism globally and for creation of a peaceful world. Unquote:

Yours sincerely,

K. Balapatabendi, PC

High Commissioner

- Asian Tribune -

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