Govt. determined to nip ultras in the bud

CHENNAI July 3. The Union Government's ban on the Tamil Nadu Liberation Army and the Tamil National Retrieval Troops under the Prevention of Terrorism Act is seen by the police as a strong determination by the State Government and the Centre to nip terrorist organisations in the bud.

Coming as it does in the wake of acts of terrorism in various parts, the ban is expected to have a ``good impact'' in dealing with the two outfits.

In December 2000, the State Government wrote to the Centre, asking it to ban the TNLA and the TNRT after it found that the two organisations had a hand in the kidnapping of the Kannada actor, Rajkumar, by the jungle bandit, Veerappan. The delay in clamping the ban then, police sources felt, could be due to the need for collection of sufficient evidence, for the Centre to prevent the activities of the two outfits. After it took over last year, the AIADMK Government clamped a Statewide ban and pursued its request with the Union Government.

Among the nefarious activities of the TNLA, earlier led by Tamilarasan, who was lynched by the public at Ponparappi after a bank dacoity, was setting off explosions in different parts of the State, including the blasting of the Marudayar bridge and the consequent rail tragedy involving the Rockfort Express. The hand of the outfit, along with the then relatively less known TNRT, was seen in the Rajkumar kidnap episode. Above all, the organisations are strongly suspected to have links with the already banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The TNLA put up its own web site, says a senior police officer.

The September 11 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, the December 13 attack on Parliament, the communal carnage in Gujarat and situation in Jammu and Kashmir should have exerted pressure on the Centre in resorting to drastic action against terrorist organisations.

The lack of specific information on the activities of the TNLA and the TNRT outside the State need not act as a barrier to imposing a nationwide ban, given their nature and activities, the officer points out.

So stringent are the POTA provisions that ``whoever with intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or to strike terror in the people or any section of the people ....'' and ``is or continues to be a member of an association declared unlawful under the Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act, or voluntarily does an act aiding or promoting in any manner the objects of such association......'' is said to have committed a terrorist act.

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