New Delhi, India — Authorities Saturday expelled a top Sri Lankan rebel leader who ignored calls by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to resume Indiansponsored talks to end ethnic conflict on the Indian Ocean island.
Tamil separatist leader A. 8. Balasingham, who holds a British passport, was flown to London after Gandhi ordered his expulsion Friday within 48 hours, the Press Trust of India news agency said.
There was no immediate word on the fate of another prominent Tamil leader S. C. Chandrahassan, also ordered deported by Gandhi because of his refusal to rejoin stalemated peace talks with the Sri Lankan government.
The Eelam National Liberation Front, an umbr his deportation order, the domestic news agency said.
Tamil leaders said they feared Balasingham would be extradited to Sri Lanka where he might face imprisonment.
The talks in the Bhutanese capital of Thimpy collapsed last Saturday when Tamil militants stormed out, accusing Sri Lankan security forces of killing more than 400 Tamils and breaching a ceasefire agreement.
Sri Lanka’s 2.5 million Tamils are descendants of immigrants from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and are mostly Hindu. Separatists seek an independent state in northern and eastern Sri Lanka where Tamils predominate, citing discrimination by the Sinhalese majority, who are mostly Buddhists.
Gandhi, who orchestrated the first direct talks between the Tamil guerrillas and the Sri Lankan government, called on the separatist leaders to return to the negotiating table.
But the militiants ignored the prime minister’s invitation, fearing they would be pressured to resume the talks, the news agency said.
Balasingham, spokesman for the separatist Liberation Tigers group, Thursday reported Gandhi blamed him for the walkout.
Gandhi is opposed to a separate Tamil nation and promised to crack down on illegal arms shipments across the narrow waterway between India and Sri Lanka.
Article extracted from this publication >> August 30, 1985