Sri Lanka defends de-listing of groups accused of terror links

Colombo, Dec 8 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday defended the de-listing of several diaspora groups and individuals earlier accused of having terror links.

The de-listing was carried out following a comprehensive study conducted on the groups and individuals by a high-level committee, Xinhua quoted Defence Minister Ruwan Wijeywardena as saying.

The study concluded that the diaspora groups and individuals who were de-proscribed recently were not involved in terrorism-related activities over the past three years, Wijeywardena said.

Opposition parliamentarian Dullas Alahapperuma earlier questioned the basis on which the groups and individuals were cleared of links to terrorism.

He said even the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), a powerful Tamil diaspora group based in London, which was de-listed, has not publicly denounced separatism and continues to promote “Eelam” on its official website.

Sri Lanka in March 2014 proscribed 16 organisations and 424 individuals. The then government raised concerns over the alleged activities of the Tamil diaspora, saying they could fund another war in Sri Lanka.

However, the new government said it was willing to negotiate with the diaspora and look at their concerns and work with them instead of sidelining them.

The government recently de-listed eight organisations and 267 persons.

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