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Vaiko seeks to be heard on ban on LTTE; Tribunal seeks Centre, TN stand

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A tribunal which is examining whether to continue the ban on LTTE on Friday sought response of the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government on MDMK leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko's plea that he be heard in the matter.

Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, who is heading the tribunal, issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the southern state seeking their stand on the plea of Vaiko who is a sympathiser of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Justice Dhingra also asked the ministry and the state government to provide her the details of security arrangements for her since she was heading the tribunal.

The central government standing counsel, Ajay Digpaul, representing the ministry, told the judge that she would be provided the security cover from July 29 and that he will submit the details.

India had banned the LTTE after the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. Since then the ban imposed on the group has been extended after every five years.

During the brief proceedings, Vaiko told the judge that since 2010, he has been allowed to participate in the proceedings before the tribunal regarding the ban on the terror organisation, which had suffered a military defeat in May 2009 in Sri Lanka.

The MHA had on May 14 extended for five more years the ban on LTTE. The last time it was banned for five years was in 2014.

Vaiko, who is the General Secretary of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), told the tribunal that on July 5 he was convicted and sentenced to one year in prison by a Chennai court for the offence of sedition for a speech given by him in 2009 in support of LTTE.

He said he was currently out on bail and urged the tribunal to hear him before deciding to extend the ban on the organisation.

The tribunal said it will take up his application for impleadment in the matter between August 16-18 int Chennai where the proceedings are slated to be held next.

While extending the ban on the LTTE, the home ministry in its May 14 notification had said that the group's continued violent and disruptive activities are prejudicial to the integrity and sovereignty of India and it continues to adopt a strong anti-India posture and also continues to pose a grave threat to the security of Indian nationals.

The tribunal was constituted on May 27 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to give an opportunity to the banned entity to present its case.

The LTTE, a terror outfit based in Sri Lanka but having its supporters, sympathisers and agents in India, came up in 1976.

Even after its military defeat in May 2009 in Sri Lanka, the LTTE has not abandoned the concept of 'Eelam' and has been clandestinely working towards this cause by undertaking fund raising and propaganda activities, and the remnant LTTE leaders or cadres have also initiated efforts to regroup the scattered activists and resurrect the outfit locally and internationally, the home ministry had said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 26 2019. 18:45 IST