TGTE man booted out

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By 2018-01-14

A senior member of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) Suresnath Ratnabalam was deported along with his family. They left Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) during the early hours of yesterday morning, officials said.

Ratnabalam and his family were placed on a Bangkok bound SriLankan Airlines flight after he was refused entry into the country as he is blacklisted.

The family arrived at the BIA on Thursday afternoon on a scheduled Etihaad flight from Abu Dhabi.

His family was however, permitted to enter the country but they opted to stay with him.

According to officials several top Ministers had applied pressure on Immigration authorities to revoke the deportation order also known as an XForm, but without success.

Immigration authorities had insisted that the Ministers should make the request in writing, but all of them declined, and Ratnabalam was finally sent out of the country.

Even during his stay at the BIA the whole family were provided with VIP treatment for reasons known only to those that were interested in getting him and the family into the country, the officials explained.

They said that in a case of a deportation the individual or individuals are kept in a designated detention centre until they are put on a flight.

However, in this case Ratnabalam and his family were provided with hotel accommodation inside the airport which is not standard procedure, they added.

According to the officials Ratnabalam is an elected member of the so-called TGTE based in Toronto, Canada and has been highly critical of the Government of Sri Lanka at several international forums.

He along with scores of others of the Tamil Diaspora were banned from entering the country by the previous regime.

Meanwhile, head of the TGTE, Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran in an email response to this newspaper stated: "The TGTE's Constitution mandates that the realization of our political goal, namely the establishment of an Independent State should be done through peaceful means and there has never been a single allegation that the TGTE is involved in violent activities.

"We are aware, however, that our idea is very powerful. The Sri Lankan Government's action demonstrates its fear of our ideas. It is unfortunate and sad to see the foolishness of the Sri Lankan Government believing that, in this technological era, ideas can be blocked simply by barring an individual entering the country." (LB)

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