The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday strongly defended the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which was extended on May 14 for two more years.
Delhi High Court judge Justice Vikramjit Sen is the one-man tribunal set up by the Centre to go into the validity of the ban, which was clamped under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Tamil Nadu said lifting the ban at this juncture would imply allowing such a deadly foreign terrorist organisation to operate fully from India, and this would give the outfit a tremendous psychological boost. Counsel for the State S. Thananjayan prayed for its continuance.
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) general secretary Vaiko made a fervent plea before the tribunal that he be heard as one of the parties. When the judge pointed out that under the provisions of the Act, only an office-bearer or a member of a banned organisation could challenge the ban, Mr. Vaiko said that according to the Centre, the LTTE was decimated. The LTTE could not represent itself before the tribunal as it had no office-bearers, and it was banned in India.
He said the MDMK was cited as one of the political parties supporting the LTTE, and this was cited as the reason for the ban. Therefore, he was entitled to make his representation on behalf of the Tamils.
Mr. Vaiko said there was not a single valid reason for imposing the ban. In view of the ban, innocent boys and girls coming from Sri Lanka were branded LTTE sympathisers and they were facing problems. No unlawful activity had taken place warranting the ban, he argued.
Mr. Thananjayan, however, said that under the Act, Mr. Vaiko could not represent the banned organisation as he was not the affected party. The judge said Mr. Vaiko could make his submissions through a lawyer and posted the matter for Friday.
In its response, Tamil Nadu said: “The LTTE is against both the Union and State governments and the leaders, viz. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi; Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi; the National Security Advisor; and the Foreign Secretary.”
“Pro-LTTE activities in Tamil Nadu continue. They [the sympathisers] believe that the LTTE supremo Prabhakaran is still alive and will lead Eelam War V to achieve separate Tamil Eelam, which will affect the nation's unity, integrity and sovereignty.
“The pro-LTTE/Tamil chauvinist forces extended support to the LTTE by conducting public meetings, processions and demonstrations and delivered speeches in support of the unlawful activities of the LTTE, which went against the sovereignty, security and integrity of the nation, causing disharmony among various sections of people of India.
“Unless the ban continued for a further period, as stipulated in the Government of India's notification, the very purpose of the ban enforced initially for two years in 1992 and subsequently extended would be defeated.”