By Walter Jayawardhana

Robert Evans , member of the European parliament declaring he is passionately involved with the Tamil rights in Sri Lanka said he has not accepted a single penny as bribe from the terrorist organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

“I have not taken a single penny from the LTTE or received orders from Kilinochchi,” he said addressing a well attended meeting held at Zoroastrian Centre on Alexandria Avenue , in Harrow of South London organized by the British Tamil Forum, allegedly the front organization of the proscribed LTTE.

Evans who led a controversial trip to Sri Lanka which led to acrimonious exchange of words between he and the Sri Lanka government was replying some of the accusations raised by the media that he is in the payroll of the terrorist organization. He said, “I refused to give only a photo opportunity of shaking hands with Pillayan , the Chief Minister of Eastern Province.

Evans told the meeting marred by violence of the BTF goons why elected members of the Tamil National Alliance , the proxy party of the LTTE , did not stay in their electorates was their fear for life and blamed that on the government .

Simply referring them as elected MP’s he did not say how they were elected allegedly in the most fraudulent election ever.

Robert Evans said Sri Lanka would lose the GSP+ concession for its products due to human rights concerns. The Member of European Parliament of the Labour Party warned that Sri Lanka would lose its GSP+ concessions due to human rights issues. He said out of 27 boxes concerning human rights to be tipped in the application to extend the GSP+ by Sri Lanka several boxes remain un-tipped and that’s why the island nation is going to lose the concession that would send thousands of factory workers unemployed.

But Sri Lankan authorities said the application has not yet been submitted.

Evans said although the Sri Lanka Army would plant the Sri Lankan flag at Kilinochchi soon, they would not be able to win their hearts.

The controversial public meeting held by the LTTE front organization was presided over by another labour Party politician, Minister Garret Thomas whose victory in Harrow electorate depends largely on pro-LTTE Tamils. The meeting was also addressed by Lord Malloch Brown, the Foreign Minister in charge of the South Asian region who was the Chief guest at the gathering on the invitation of the labour MP’s.

An anti-LTTE Tamil who attempted to ask a question, from Lord Malloch Brown while he was leaving , since he was prevented from asking questions from the floor, from the latter was assaulted by British Tamil Forum goons in front of the minister close to the entrance. Due to the commotion the public meeting was closed at 8.30 p.m. and the BTF members were publicly requested to have their negotiations with Garret Thomas the MP for the Harrow area and the pro-LTTE Keith Vaz MP who was also present on the stage . The MP who was in hot water due to his improper dealings with the LTTE did not speak

publicly. The most alarming thing in the meeting was Gareth Thomas did not select a single question from one of the hundreds of emails sent by Sri Lankans seemingly not to the liking of the LTTE. When selecting questions from the floor the British Minister did not show any kind of balance and blatantly restricted the questions to LTTE supporters, whom they categorized as voters of harrow. Pro-LTTE Councillor Idaikar from the stage signed people to applause whenever pro- LTTE statements were made or anti-Sri Lankan statements were made both in questions and answers.

Goons have been openly employed to heckle Malloch Brown, and one well dressed bald headed heckler, who identified himself as Kumar shouted at him: “All Tamils are Tigers”. “Tigers thirst is a separate state” and “Pirabhakaran is our beloved leader” were some other slogans heard in the presence of Malloch Brown. At one stage Malloch Brown said questions in the fashion of sloganeering would not resolve the Sri Lankan conflict and no solution could be found in London unless the Sri Lankan parties get together for reconciliation. Malloch Brown seemed to be the one who was speaking only with at least a semblance of impartiality and the other British politicians were speaking as they were LTTE spokesmen or as if they are extremely in want of the nearly one hundred thousand pro-LTTE Tamil votes in Harrow and the surrounding areas.

The most important announcement made at the meeting was that they are pushing a resolution reflecting the Tamil opinion regarding Sri Lanka to the executive committee of the British Labour Party on September 16 2008 to be adopted by the coming national convention.

Lord Malloch Brown said that he had been criticised for pointing out lapses of the Sri lankan government on the human rights situation.. In the Easern Province of Sri Lanka the government’s military victory is a significant one. They have formed a provincial government without any political reconciliation with the other side of the conflict.

“During my visit to Sri Lanka what I told them was there cannot be any solution to the problem without any political solution. There cannot be a military solution in Sri Lanka,” he emphasized.

He told the LTTE that there could be devolution of power within a United Sri lanka. He said both sides are responsible for the breadown of the ceasefire agreement.

When a LTTE supporter asked him why 40,000 Tamils remained in the rain at the recent Pongu Thamil festival in London Lord Malloch Brown said he could understand the anger but London could do nothing but persuade by bringing pressure using GSP+ on the human rights issue. Britain has brought pressure through the United Nation’s Human rights council, and Commonwealth, he said . He ruled out any action through the UN security council.

When he was asked why he shook hands with Pillayan and not Prabhakaran Lord Mallock Brown said he met Pillayan as he was elected in an election however much it was flawed while not endorsing the flaws. At the same time Prabhakaran was not to be found anywhere. On the other hand he leads an organization that is proscribed he said. He said his government fully supports the proscription of the LTTE. When asked whether the British government would de-proscribe the LTTE he said there is a process for de-proscription and the LTTE had not applied for de-proscription since 2001.

When he was asked why the British government does not liken the Eelam situation to Kosovo situation, Malloch brown said Kosovo is an extremely exceptional situation and if that was applied to other situations in not only in Sri Lanka but places like Sudan or numerous other places to embark on the fragmentation of nation states it would be a recipe for world anarchy .

Asked by the LTTE supporters if he would support a government in exile he answered in the negative. He said it was not possible since the Colombo government is an elected one. He said Britiain would condemn human rights violaions by both sides.

Asked whether a referendum should be held in Sri Lanka to resolve the problem Brown said such a thing only could be an outcome of a negotiated settlement.

Brown said the LTTE did not do its part in the ceasefire agreement and the ball is also in the LTTE court for a negotiated settlement.

Asked why Britain does not ban Sri Lanka as a terrorist state he said Colombo is an elected government whereas the LTTE is an outfit of a terrorist character.

Asked why he met Pillayan and not LTTE Brown said they remain democratically elected and the LTTE never faced an election. .

Lord Malloch Brown said Britain is no longer an imperial power to order things in Colombo and Britain could only pressure and use all levers to bring pressure like the GSP+. He said there are limits to what they could do. He said they would be glad to welcome a democratically elected leadership in the North. He emphasized it is left for the people of Sri Lanka both the Sinhalese and the Tamils to bring a resolution to the conflict.

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