Among the 422 individuals designated by the Sri Lankan Government through a gazette Extraordinary issued on March 21st 2014 is included the name of a person who died two years ago.
The 86th name in the relevant Gazette notification is that of Karunanithi Thurairatnam a.k.a Thurai. The notification also states that Thurairatnam was born on March 15th 1969 and that he is living in France. It also says his passport number is F750320938.
According to the gazette Thurairatnam alias Thurai’s address in Sri Lanka is gven as Vattukoddai west,Vattukoddai and his foreign address/Tel is stated to be 14 RUE MAURICE BUREAU, 93000 – BOBIGNY- Tel. No: 0664656395
What the authorities in Sri Lanka responsible for the Gazette seem to have been unaware of is the fact that Karunanithi Thurairatnam had passed away in France on March 19th 2012.Apparently notice of his death as well as obituaries had been published in several Tamil media organs at that time.
The person concerned is the husband of Kamalambigai and father of Ilakkiya,Midhulan and Dharshika. He is the son of former Principal of Thirunavukkarasu Vidyalayam the late Mr.Karunanithi and Mrs.Selvamalar Karunanidhi.
The publication of Karunanidhi Thurairatnam’s name in the list of designated individuals by the Govt has aroused much amusement as well as indignation.
The careless sloppiness of the Govt in listing the name of a person who died two years ago among the living has raised questions of how accurate and responsible the govt was in the entire exercise.
Another glaring error in the listing is to a woman named Thanuskodi Premini. I am aware of a woman by that name who was formerly an accountant of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO). She was one of seven TRO employees abducted in Batticaloa and killed by the Tamil Makkal Viduthalaipp Puligal (TMVP) in 2006. Premini herself was brutally raped and executed. I have written about this gruesome incident. Yet the gazette lists the name Thanuskodi Premini. I don’t think there were two women by the same name. If it is indeed the same woman then I begin to wonder about the accuracy of the listing.
The designation of 16 entities and 424 individuals as having alleged terrorist links or being involved in terrorism is a very serious matter. The lives of many could be deeply affected. Their professional reputations could be irredeemably damaged.Grave travesties of justice could occur if action is pursued under faulty information.
Much as one understands the Sri Lankan Government wanting to overcome the threat posed in Sri Lanka by a resurgent LTTE fuelled by sections of the Global Tamil Diaspora one must emphasise that careless action based on erroneous information could prove counterproductive besides resulting in a travesty of justice.
Sri Lanka is well within its rights to combat the violent renaissance of the LTTE. As a Tamil of Sri Lankan origin I am firmly of the opinion that a revival of the LTTE would be detrimental to the suffering Tamils living in Sri Lanka. What is of paramount importance however is to ensure that no innocent person or institution is falsely accused or penalised on charges of involvement in terrorism while the tiger threat is eradicated successfully.
DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org