South now knows the danger of PTA

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The draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) which has caused serious sufferingsto the Tamils of this countryhas now impacted other communities including the protesters and this is now being realised by the South, said former Parliamentarian and Leader of Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) Suresh Premachandran.

Commenting on a statementmade by former foreign minister Prof G.L. Peiris who said that PTA should be repealed or the international community would isolate Sri Lanka, Premachandran said this shows that most politicians in the South are still not keen to repeal the PTA despite realisingit has been a draconian law.

He further said that, since the PTA is seen as a draconian law and a cause of human suffering, the Government should revoke it and accept wholeheartedly that it has caused immense suffering for all Sri Lankans.

“The PTA remained for 40 years or so despite being brought in as a temporary measure. The PTA could arrest anyone based on their opinions and wishes and it refrains from producing the person in the Court. They are detained by the Army, Police and the TID and torturedfor information. There are so much evidence how many had been tortured and taken statements against their wishes. The repealing of the PTA has been spoken so often and successive governments were under pressure to repeal it but it was never the case.”

He said thousands of Tamil youth were arrested under the PTA and it was not disputed by the international community.

“When the people went against bad governance and leadership, corruption and high cost of living, people decided to send off the rulers in a democraticway but it wasprojected as violence against the State. The incumbent President Ranil Wickremesinghe who came to power due to the protests has allowed arresting those who took part in the protest and detained them under the PTA,” he further said.

The student movement’s leaders, trade unionists and many from the public were arrested under the PTA, he pointed out.

He also recalled when the Tamil youth were arrested under the PTA, no southern politicians, trade unions or organisation voiced against the arrests. “Yet the Tamils of this country including me and several organisations protested when the Sinhalese were arrested under the PTA.

To us,then and now, the PTA is a draconian Act and we as Tamils stand by those who are protesting against it,” he added.

“The most interesting news is that Prof G.L. Peiris has openly said that such arrests under the PTA will give a wrong signalas the United Nations Human Rights Council session is around the corner. He told the media it would set path to the UNHRC to pressure Sri Lanka to implement the resolution. Hence the country should not arrest protesters under the PTA.”

Prof. Peiris recently said that agitation is not a situation, in which the application of anti-terrorism laws is at all appropriate or justified.

Premachandran said if this has been realised then the Government should take appropriate steps to repeal it.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan