LTTE rebel Karuna freed, back in Lanka
Turncoat LTTE leader Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, popularly known as Colonel Karuna, returned to Colombo on Thursday after serving a jail term in UK.
Karuna had fled to London last November but had been arrested by British authorities for violating immigration laws; he had reportedly fled Sri Lanka on forged diplomatic passport.
Media reports said that Karuna was escorted by four British officials to Colombo.
The former LTTE leader, considered at one time to be the second-most powerful leader after Prabhakaran, had founded the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) party. The party subsequently split and Karuna left the country soon after.
A prominent human rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has criticised the UK authorities for releasing Karuna from jail in May and not putting him on trial for alleged war crimes.
The group alleged that Karuna and forces under his command were directly involved in crimes of Sri Lanka's ongoing civil war, including torture, summary execution, and use of children as soldiers. “The British government had an alleged war criminal in custody for six months and couldn't manage to file charges,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch said in a press release in London. “This was a rare opportunity to hold a leader of the Tamil Tigers accountable for horrific human rights abuses, and the British government blew It,” he said.
UK home secretary Priti Patel has reportedly conveyed Prime Minister Boris Johnson the “general view” of Conservative lawmakers amid efforts to force him out of office. "Home Secretary Priti Patel, told Johnson that the general view of the Conservative party was that he had to go," CNN reported citing a person familiar with the matter.
In separate amendments to the National Defence Authorization Act, three US Congressmen have proposed that the US deepen defence ties with India, waive off sanctions that may be triggered by India's acquisitions of Russian weapons under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), enhance the energy partnership with India, and work to reduce Indian dependence on Russian military equipment and energy sources and replace it with the US sources.
British prime minister Boris Johnson - holding on to power precariously after multiple members oJohnson'sis cabinet resigned over the past few days - has become the subject of memes among the online community. A slew of these memes have surfaced on Twitter, encapsulating the current political crisis in Britain as Johnson stares at the strong possibility of being removed as Conservative Party leader and PM.
The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on Thursday announced the opening of its first office outside its Beijing headquarter, in what appears to be an effort to negotiate China's Covid-19-related policies including restrictions on international travel and strict quarantine requirements for returnees. “The AIIB Board of Directors has approved the establishment of an Interim Operational Hub (the Hub), the bank's first overseas office,” the multilateral lender said in a statement on Thursday.
South Asian communities may have suffered more during the Covid-19 pandemic than the general population, according to an indicative study published in Canada. Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, “found the Regional Municipality of Peel, home to a large South Asian Canadian community, emerged as a Covid-19 hotspot before the local rollout of vaccines starting in April 2021”. The city of Brampton was the “epicentre”.