The Weekend Leader - Wanted Man

‘Any Indian citizen can detain Douglas Devananda if he trespasses into Indian waters’

TWL Bureau


Vol 3 | Issue 16

Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda’s reported threat to cross into Indian territorial waters with 5000 Sri Lankan fishermen to protest against alleged poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters has once again raked up the demand for arrest of the minister in Tamil Nadu, where he is wanted in connection with a 1986 murder case.

Advocate P Pugazhendi, who had recently filed a petition in the Madras High Court seeking direction to the State Home Secretary and the Director General of Police to take steps for issuing a Red Corner Notice by the Interpol against the minister, said the Tamil Nadu police should make efforts to secure him when he attempts to enter Indian waters illegally.

Douglas Devananda is a proclaimed offender in Tamil Nadu

“When he is leading an agitation of this nature, he does not enjoy the diplomatic immunity that he enjoys as a minister. It is an opportunity for the Tamil Nadu police to arrest him and make him face trial in the 1986 shootout and murder case,” he said.

Pugazhendi also added that since Devananda is a proclaimed offender, any Indian citizen could apprehend him and hand him over to the police.

Devananda, leader of Eelam People’s Democratic Party and an ally of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was involved in a neighbourhood brawl in Chennai and opened fire at a crowd on November 1, 1986.

One person was killed and four others were injured in the shootout. A case was registered against him. He was arrested and later released on bail in January 1987.

In 1988 another case was registered against him on charges of kidnapping a ten-year-old boy and demanding a ransom of Rs.7 lakh. He was subsequently detained under the National Security Act.

Pugazhendi had filed a petition seeking the court's directions to arrest Devananda, when he visited India in June 2010.

However, the external affairs ministry had told the Madras High Court that the minister cannot be arrested as he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

The ministry also submitted that if Devananda was arrested while on a state visit, it would affect relations between the two countries.

It also told the court that India does not have any extradition treaty with Sri Lanka. – with inputs from IANS

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