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Lanka bans use of term ‘war hero’

world Updated: Jun 30, 2009 00:20 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The Sri Lankan government on Monday banned the use of tags like a `war hero’ during election campaigning.

According to reports, a circular issued by the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) also banned the use of military victories as propaganda for the elections.

The MCNS said that using images of the forces in posters, cutouts in print or electronic media by any candidate was illegal. However, former service personnel could with written permission use such pictures in election.

Two crucial municipal elections in Jaffna and Vavuniya were slated to be held on August 8. It would be the first time in 30 years that a local election would be held in Jaffna.

The defence ministry said using of phrases like ‘war heroes’ for election propaganda was banned without approval from Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

In another development, the Sri Lankan government has said the US warning of the potential for possible terrorist attacks a month after the end of war, aimed at discouraging US citizens from visiting Sri Lanka, was part of US strategy to undermine the country.

In a statement, the government expressed disappointment over a fresh travel advisory issued by the US State Department, warning American citizens traveling to or living in Sri Lanka, about the potential for continued instability, including possible terrorist attacks in the country, despite the end of the conflict.

The advisory, issued by the US State Department on Friday, demonstrates the sheer lack of understanding of the ground situation by the authors as the LTTE has been comprehensively defeated, said foreign secretary Palitha Kohona

The Foreign Ministry has directed all Sri Lankan missions overseas to persuade the host countries to lift travel advisories on Sri Lanka as the country's situation has rapidly changed with the eradication of terrorism.

According to a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Sri Lankan envoys in foreign missions were directed to initiate a dialogue with the respective foreign ministries and convince them that Sri Lanka is a safer place for tourists.

International insurance underwriters based in London recently lowered the war risk level of Sri Lanka from 3.4 to 3.0 and changed the Sri Lanka's status from severe to high.