Colombo, February 7 (newsin.asia): The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) today urged UK Government not to allow Sri Lankan Brigadier Priyanka Fernando from Leaving to Face War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide charges in UK.
The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry on Tuesday suspended the Minister Counsellor (Defence) attached to the Sri Lanka High Commission in London after a video of him making a threatening gesture to protesting crowds outside the High Commission went viral.
Brigadier Priyanka Fernando was seen making a throat cutting gesture to a group of largely Tamil diaspora protestors outside Sri Lanka’s High Commission on Sunday, which was Independence Day.
Authorities in Sri Lanka have taken serious note of videos being circulated on social and web-based media of an alleged incident involving the Minister Counsellor (Defence) attached to the Sri Lanka High Commission in London behaving in an offensive manner, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
“In this connection, instructions have been sent to Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in London on 6 February 2018, to suspend the Minister Counselor (Defence) from work, with immediate effect. Authorities in Sri Lanka, including the Sri Lanka Army, will initiate inquiries on the incident immediately,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, British Labour politicians Joan Ryan MP and Siobhain McDonagh MP have called on the Foreign Secretary to “withdraw Brigadier Priyanka Fernando’s diplomatic papers and expel him” from the UK.
Ryan and McDonagh, the Vice Chair and Senior Vice Chair of the Tamil All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), also said in their letter to Boris Johnson MP that the conduct of Brigadier Fernando – Sri Lanka’s Defence Attaché to the UK – was “inappropriate, unacceptable and threatening […] from someone who is serving in an official capacity as a guest of this country.”
A video which had gone viral showed Brig.Fernando running a finger across his neck apparently suggesting that the necks of those who oppose Sri Lanka will be severed.
Some political observers, however, saw a domestic political need behind the Sri Lankan government’s prompt action. Sri Lanka is to go for crucial local bodies elections on February 10 and the Tamil vote is important for all parties, particularly the ruling United National Party (UNP) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which is an ally of the UNP.
The Tamils of the North and East of Sri Lanka are already dissatisfied with these parties for their inability to solve the ethnic issue politically. A new liberal constitution is yet to see the light day and transitional justice mechanisms are yet to be established despite promises to the international community and the Tamil population to have them functioning on a priority basis.
(The featured image at the top shows Brig. Priyanka Fernando outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in London)