VCK leader justifies demand for lifting ban on LTTE

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Chennai, Jan 30 (UNI) Thol Thirumavalavan, President of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), an ally of the ruling DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) in Tamil Nadu, today justified his demand for lifting the ban on Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Defending his stand, the Dalit leader, talking to newspersons here, said his demand to seek lifting of the ban on the LTTE and recognise the organisation as a people's movement, was his individual Freedom of Expression and democratic right.

''This is our stand. If the law seeks to punish us for taking the stand, we are prepared to face it,'' Mr Thirumavalavan said, even as the State Government announced that those who expressed support to banned organisations like the LTTE would be punished under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Flaying the Sri Lankan Navy for placing the sea mines on international waters, the VCK leader urged India to launch a war against Sri Lanka to protect the Indian fishermen.

The Centre should also take steps to get back Katchativu, which had been handed over to the Island Government. Though Indian fishermen had the right to use the island for drying their nets and taking rest, they were seldom allowed to go near it, he said.

Mr Thirumavalavan, who led an agitation against the Centre's order, prescribing a minimum of 60 per cent of marks for the Scheduled Caste candidates to avail scholarships said this would ruin the career of students and deny them opportunities to take up higher studies.

To press the Centre to withdraw the Government order, the VCK would organise protest demonstrations in the district headquarters throughout the State on February five, he added.

UNI WS SBC KP1513

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