Temporary phase in Tamil Nadu says Douglas

Cabinet Minister and leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) Douglas Devananda┬ásays Sri Lanka’s overall ties with India has not been affected by the recent violent incidents in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Devananda told Xinhua that the incidents in Tamil Nadu, were just a temporary phase which will soon die down.

“These incidents are just temporary. Most of the incidents have been caused by certain extremist groups and it is not the overall view of the Tamil Nadu public. This will soon die down,” Devananda said.

“If people are under the view that these incidents will affect Indo-Sri Lanka ties, then they are wrong as both governments have maintained strong relations with each other. These incidents will not effect the strong bond between Sri Lanka and India,” he added.

Devananda is from the northern town of Jaffna which was badly affected by the 30-year conflict against Tamil Tiger rebels.

Originally a Sri Lanka Tamil militant who fought against the Sri Lankan government for an independent Tamil Eelam, he became a pro-government leader and politician and is now heading the EPDP.

Devananda has been wanted in Tamil Nadu over an alleged murder charge against him with an arrest warrant issued against him by a Chennai High court.

The warrant, which is without bail, was issued in 1990, for his alleged part in a shootout and murder case in Chennai during 1986. He has also been accused of kidnapping a boy in 1988 in Tamil Nadu and in 1989, he was arrested and released later on bail by the Indian police.

He was previously unable to fight the warrant, due to the risk of arrest if he were to land in India. During a visit to India in 2012, a writ petition was filed against him seeking to arrest and prosecute him in relation to the previous and pending criminal case.

However, the Indian External Affairs Ministry reportedly informed the Chennai High Court in 2012 that as a cabinet minister of Sri Lanka, Devananda enjoys diplomatic immunity.