Nepal denies asylum to Fonseka aides
Nepal has refused to grant refugee status to few close associates of former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka residing in the country. The Sri Lankans who worked with Fonseka during his presidential campaign are reportedly staying “semi-nderground” in Kathmandu for past few months and seeking asylum in Nepal.
The Nepal government has however turned down the request.
“This information is news to me and this is the first time such a thing has happened. We have written to the foreign ministry to seek their directives,” Thosapala Hewage, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Nepal, told HT.
“We are seeking a secure place to live and express our feeling until a point in future when we can go back and speak out,” said Santha Karunaratne, Coordinator of the “Politically Affected Families of Gen. Fonseka in Nepal.” “Following the elections, many people had to flee the country when the police started cracking down on those who they thought were anti-establishment.”
They are seeking the status of political refugees in Nepal, which however, has been denied by the government. Government officials said they “could be arrested anytime”.
A report in Tuesday’s The Kathmandu Post stated that the asylum seekers who had fled Sri Lanka following Fonseka’s electoral loss and amid fear of retribution by the present regime could be arrested soon.
They thought that Nepal was the ‘easiest’ place for asylum seekers. Of the 14 who were staying in Nepal reportedly under “unofficial protection” of UNHCR for the last few months, one died of heart attack, one managed to fly to Canada and five other disappeared. Remaining seven are seeking asylum. UN sources confirmed that the asylum seekers have received unofficial protection but because of their illegal status they would not be called refugees unless Nepal approves so, Kathmandu Post and Hindustan Times reports.
Courtesy: Ada Derana – Pix by Reuters
These men may be deserters of SL army who had been recruited illegally by SF during his failed Presidential Election campaign bid. They may be therefore wanted in SL for criminal offences and to provide information to SL police regarding alleged coup bid by SF. It is wrong of UNHCR in Nepal to offer protection for wanted criminals. They fled in the first place because they feared being arrested for their crimes. Isn’t it time Nepal arrested them all and deported them to SL for questioning by CID? For all we know they may be even being used by diaspora LTTE to plot the assassination of Hon President MR and his family and relatives. I wonder whether Danuna T also fled with the support of UNHCR to Nepal first and then to Canada, and is hiding in Canada. Only time will tell. There are many supporters of SF who have not been arrested just because they supported his political views and election bid. Hence these men are in hiding in Nepal because they have someting to hide. Danuna T has also escaped justice in SL, with the help of SF and corrupt officials, because he has a bad conscience and information to hide.