Sri Lanka government may lift ban on Tamil diaspora groups

Colombo9PTI): Sri Lankan government on Thursday said it may lift a ban on several Tamil diaspora groups and individuals imposed by the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime for their alleged links to the LTTE to achieve reconciliation with the country’s largest ethnic minority.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told the Parliament that the government may lift the ban on Tamil diaspora groups imposed by the previous Rajapaksa regime. Samaraweera said the previous administration had linked overseas Tamil outfits to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which was crushed by his forces by May 2009. “They banned several Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora groups… for their alleged links to the LTTE. This was done to build up the hysteria about the LTTE regrouping,” he said.

Over 400 individuals had also been listed as terrorists and banned. Announcing a review of the measures with a view to lifting the banning, Samaraweera said the action was part of President Maithripala Sirisena’s reconciliation plan.

Samaraweera said that building national reconciliation was important and Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim diaspora groups have a role to play in taking Sri Lanka forward as a nation. Tamils voted in large numbers for President Maithripala

Sirisena to defeat the pro-Sinhala Rajapaksa in the January 8 polls. Sirisena on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to implement the 13th Amendment would be taken up after the next parliamentary election and asserted that finding a solution to the vexed Tamil issue remains a priority for his government.