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Protest over TN lawyer’s ‘detention’ in Lanka

[Express Buzz, Saturday, 22 January 2011 10:47 No Comment]

On a day when Tamil rights activists and the advocate community protested the alleged detention of the Tamil Nadu lawyer Kayalvizhi and her aide Thirumalai, at the Omnanthai military checkpoint in north Lanka on January 19, the Lankan army was in denial mode.

Sri Lankan army spokesman Maj Gen Ubhaya Madewala, told Express: “We are not aware of any such detention.”

In Chennai, Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) president R C Paul Kanakaraj sent a representation to the Indian High Commissioner in Lanka saying that Kayalvizhi and her clerk Thirumalai went to Sri Lanka on valid passports and visas, yet they were detained.

Copies of the MHAA’s letter were forwarded to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi among others. The Women’s Lawyers Association too sent a similar representation to the High Commissioner.

Drawing the PM’s attention to the issue, MDMK general secretary Vaiko said Kayalvizhi, the grand daughter of great Tamil poet Perunchithiranar and daughter of Tamil Scholar Iraikkuruvanar, “had gone to Lanka with valid visa documents to visit the war-torn Tamil areas and see the suffering Tamils. On her way back to India on January 19, the Lankan army detained her and further whereabouts are not known.”

Expressing concern about her safety, Vaiko requested the PM to take necessary steps to bring her back safely to Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, Kanakaraj charged that the Lankan government was wreaking vengeance against TN advocates who fought against the genocide of innocent Tamils by the Lankan government in May last year. He also sought the immediate release of the advocate.

In Colombo, a spokesperson for the Lankan Ministry of External Affairs said that the ministry too had not heard about any such detention. The spokesperson, however, said that one would have to ascertain if Kayalvizhi and Thirumalai had the necessary clearance from the Ministry of Defence to go to the Northern Province, which was the scene of intense fighting between the Lankan forces and the LTTE in the 2006-2009 Eelam War IV.

“All foreigners have to get the defence ministry permission to make this journey. If a foreigner does not have it, he or she will be sent back after inquiries to establish identity,” the officer said.

[Full Coverage]

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