The Indian media has reported that India had denied a visa to Sinnaiah Thavaratnam, first cousin of detained LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan’s (KP), when he had applied for one after being chosen to be part of a Sri Lankan fishermen team that toured Tamil Nadu to discuss bilateral fishing issues recently.
Thavaratnam, who is the chairman of the Federation of Jaffna District Fishermens’ Associations, has told the Express News Service that he was given no reason for the rejection and when asked for permission to see a higher officer, it was denied.
“I do not know why they keep denying the visa to me these days. In 2006 too, I was denied. But, my wife was able to get it last year and she toured Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Over the 1980s and 1990s, I had visited India more than 25 times without a problem,” he has said.
The report states that when asked if it was because he was KP’s first cousin (his father and KP’s father are siblings) Thavaratnam chose not to answer directly, but said that it was wrong to punish him for the deeds of a cousin.
“My wife and I had done a lot for stranded, arrested or wounded Indian fishermen and spent a lot of money on these. I have always spoken for amity between the fishermen of both sides. If I have done anything wrong or against India, I would like to know what it is, and am prepared to correct myself,” Thavaratnam has said.
Thavaratnam had been out of touch with KP when the latter was abroad working for the LTTE as arms smuggler and funds manager. But he had met KP twice after he was captured in August 2009.
Meanwhile, KP on Saturday (28) had said that Thavaratnam was president of his North Eastern Rehabilitation and Development Organisation (NERDO) and that he himself was its secretary.
But, Thavaratnam has told Express that this was not so, and that he was working with NERDO only on issues concerning Jaffna fishermen.