Though a proclaimed offender on the records of a Chennai court, Douglas Devananda, a Sri Lankan minister and leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), has visited India several times.
Devananda, whose visit as a member of visiting Rajapaksa’s delegation has kicked off a row, had also come to India six months ago. His name is not on India’s “watch list” of the Indian mission in Sri Lanka. “If he was a proclaimed offender, then his name would have been in that list,” South Block officials said on Thursday.
Originally a Tamil militant with the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), he and his group gave up armed struggle to join the democratic process in Sri Lanka after the signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement of July 1987, and the arrival of the IPKF there.
Devananda got a visa to travel to India as part of the Lankan delegation because the Indian mission had not listed him as an offender.
Devananda was declared a proclaimed offender by a Chennai court on charges of murder, rioting and unlawful assembly in Chennai in 1986.
“I don’t know about that but, according to the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement, they have given pardon to all leaders, all political leaders... If there is anything legal, I am prepared to face that,” he told reporters.