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India denied me visa: KP’s cousin

[Express Buzz, Sunday, 29 August 2010 09:02 No Comment]

India had denied a visa to Sinnaiah Thavaratnam, detained LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan’s (KP) first cousin, when he applied for it after being chosen to be part of a Sri Lankan fishermen team which toured Tamil Nadu to discuss bilateral fishing issues recently.

Thavaratnam, who is the chairman of the Federation of Jaffna District Fishermens’ Associations, told Express on Saturday, that he was given no reason for the rejection. When asked for permission to see a higher officer, it was denied.

“I do not know why they keep denying the visa to me these days. In 2006 too, I was denied. But, my wife was able to get it last year and she toured Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Over the 1980s and 1990s,I had visited India more than 25 times without a problem,” he said.

Asked if it was because he was KP’s first cousin (his father and KP’s father are siblings) Thavaratnam chose not to answer directly, but said that it was wrong to punish him for the deeds of a cousin.

“My wife and I had done a lot for stranded, arrested or wounded Indian fishermen and spent a lot of money on these. I have always spoken for amity between the fishermen of both sides. If I have done anything wrong or against India, I would like to know what it is, and am prepared to correct myself,” Thavaratnam said.

WORKING WITH KP’s NGO: Thavaratnam was out of touch with KP when the latter was abroad working for the LTTE as arms smuggler and funds manager. But he had met KP twice after he was captured in August 2009.

KP told Daily Mirror on Saturday, that Thavaratnam was president of his North Eastern Rehabilitation and Development Organisation (NERDO) and that he himself was its secretary.

But, Thavaratnam told Express that this was not so, and that he was working with NERDO only on issues concerning Jaffna fishermen.

LAUDS TN-LANKA FISHING PACT: Asked what he thought of the visit of the Lankan fishermen to Tamil Nadu, which he missed, Thavaratnam said that the agreements entered into were good.

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