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DateLine Sunday, 18 May 2008

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India extends ban on LTTE by two more years

India has issued a notification extending formally the ban on the Tamil Tigers for another two years, until May 14, 2010, and directed its Navy, Coast Guard and intelligence agencies to step up vigil along the Tamil Nadu and Kerala coasts.

The ban on LTTE first imposed in 1992, is periodically extended every two years as provided under the provisions of the Indian law that seeks to check unlawful activities. The Interior Ministry said in a notification that the decision to continue the ban on LTTE has been taken after taking into several factors.

The turbulence in Sri Lanka is being exploited by the pro-LTTE forces, in spite of the ban, causing disquiet and threat to the security of Tamil Nadu. In view of the hostilities between Sri Lankan Security Forces and the LTTE, vigil has also been stepped up in the 21 islands in the Palk Straits.

Delhi is of the opinion that LTTE is an unlawful association and there is a continuing strong need to control all such separatist activities by all possible means.

The notification said though the LTTE was based in Sri Lanka, it had sympathisers, supporters and agents on the Indian soil. It said LTTE’s free functioning in India as an association, if allowed, would be highly detrimental to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.

“The LTTE continues to be extremely potent, most lethal and well organized terrorist force in Sri Lanka and has strong connections in Tamil Nadu and certain other pockets of southern India”, the Interior Ministry, the nodal agency under the Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act, said.

It said the LTTE continues to use Tamil Nadu as the base for carrying out smuggling of essential items like petrol and diesel, besides drugs to Sri Lanka.

And noted that LTTE’s objective for a separate homeland for all Tamils threatened the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India and amounted to cession and secession of a part of India and thus falls within the ambit of an unlawful activity.

Delhi believes that LTTE will continue to remain a strong terrorist movement and stimulate the secessionist sentiment to enhance its support base in Tamil Nadu as long as Sri Lanka continues to remain in a state of ethnic strife torn by the demand for Tamil Eelam.

The demand finds a strong echo in Tamil Nadu due to the linguistic, cultural, ethnic and historical affinity between the Sri Lankan Tamils and the Indian Tamils in Sri Lanka.

The Indian Interior Ministry has information that LTTE sympathizers in Tamil Nadu would be ultimately utilised by the Tamil Tigers for unlawful activities.

The activities of pro-LTTE outfits and individuals have also come to notice in India, despite the ban in force and attempts have been made by these forces to extend their support to the group.

The LTTE leaders have been cynical of India’s policy on their organisation and action of the State machinery in curbing their activities. This is also the reason why security establishment opines that the activities of the LTTE would continue to pose a threat to India.

At a security review meeting chaired by Home Minister Shivraj Patil here on Monday, Intelligence Bureau and Central Industrial Security Force gave a detailed presentation on the threats from militant groups, especially through sea-route.

The sea route is considered most vulnerable, especially after India successfully managed to block infiltration through land route and the focus of the security establishment now is to have more coastal police stations which can guard ports and vital installations in the hinterland.

Security agencies have launched round-the-clock monitoring of the small and uninhabited islands located between the Tamil Nadu coast and Sri Lanka as they have reportedly become a base for militants.

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