Stiff upper lip at Home Office
Britain will not name banned terrorists tomorrow

By Sujeeva Niwunhella in London
Although the British Terrorism Act of 2000 will come into effect from tomorrow (Monday), the names of proscribed terrorist organisations will not be published, a Home Office spokesman said here.

He indicated that there will be two proscribed lists, one titled "Domestic Terrorist Organisations" and the other "Overseas Terrorist Organisations,’’ but could not give any time frame within which these organisations will be publicly named.

"The British government is contemplating banning all terrorist organisations who violated the law but no list will be available on Monday,’’ he said.

Asked whether the LTTE will be listed, he said that he could not give any names but all terrorist organisations are being "looked into.’’

Many observers in London expect other European countries to follow suit if Britain bans the LTTE. This will be a heavy blow for the Tigers whose activities in Europe can be crippled.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga last week repeated the call that Britain bans the Tigers in the course of a talk show on ITN. Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar is also on record saying that a British failure to ban the LTTE will be an "unfriendly act."

Meanwhile the LTTE is working hard to prevent a ban by sending petitions and lobbying British MPs. The British press has reported that the claimed attack on Anton Balasingham’s London home and car is unfounded and a spokesman for Scotland Yard confirmed this to this correspondent. "No such incident can be traced," he said.

Leaders of Sinhala associations in Britain said that none of them had been questioned by Scotland Yard on the attack on Balasingham’s home contradicting Tiger propaganda that Scotland Yard was due to interview some Sinhala activists living in Britain.

"We will never go down to the level of attacking Balasingham’s house or car. This kind of incident has occurred when Tamil groups had fought among themselves in the UK. It may also be a fabricated attempt to discredit the Sinhalese," Gamini Keerthichandra, President of the Sinhala Bala Mandalaya said.

Douglas Wickremaratne, Vice President of the Sinhala Association in the UK said he remembers an incident in 1983 when the then Sri Lanka High Commissioner in London, Mr. Moorthy, received a letter threatening his life. It was alleged that this letter had been written by a member of their association.

"A Scotland Yard officer from the Diplomatic Protection Group visited me to find out whether this writer was known to me. The letter had no address and the sender’s name was given as A. Perera, member of the Sinhala Association. The Scotland Yard officer agreed with me that it was an obvious hoax and a crude attempt to discredit the Sinhalese in the UK," he said.