The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is to go to the Supreme Court to lift the restrictions on foreigners travelling to the Tamil-majority Northern Province. Mavai Senathirajah, president of the Illangai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), the main constituent of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which rules the Northern Province, said that his party is consulting legal experts on taking the matter to the Supreme Court.
“It is a violation of a Fundamental Right, because thousands of Lankan Tamils living abroad as citizens of other countries will be put to great inconvenience if they want to go to their ancestral places in the Northern Province. Thousands come home to the North to visit their relations, participate in weddings and funerals and to attend to their properties. Many come to help war affected people. These Lankans, will now have to get two visas: one to enter the country, and another to go to their ancestral homes in the North. This is totally unacceptable,” Senathirajah said.
As per the new rules announced by the Military Spokesman on October 15, foreign passport holders including Colombo-based foreign correspondents and members of the Lankan Tamil Diaspora will have to get the written permission from the Secretary, Ministry of Defense, to travel to the North. The spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that the step had been taken to foil “negative interventions” with implications for national security and social harmony. No details were revealed giving rise to speculation about the exact reasons.
Meanwhile the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) leader V. Anandasangaree described the ban as a thoughtless action and warned that it would only give a boost to extremists among the Tamils and encourage the pro-LTTE section among the Tamils in Sri Lanka and overseas. “I will write to the President about this,” he said.(Sunday Leader)