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TGTE calls for Independent Police Review into Peel Police Chief's Sri Lanka visit

Duraiappah with Tiran Alles in Sri Lanka.

The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) has appealed to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director to investigate the Peel Regional Police Chief’s recent controversial visit to Sri Lanka where he had an audience with Tiran Alles, Public Security Minister and Acting Inspector General of Police Deshabandu Tennakoon, and pledged to increase co-operation with country's notorious police force. 

TGTE says they are “appalled” by Nishan Duraiappah’s visit since it was only a week before the Acting IGP Tennakoon was handed a conviction of torture by Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court. 

Roy Wignarajah, the Minister for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities at TGTE, said they found “Chief Duraiappah's acceptance of a guard of honour by Sri Lanka’s police, which is implicated in committing the crime of genocide, war crimes and crimes against Tamils during the final stages of the armed conflict and even today, reprehensible and incompatible with the values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, that Canada, its police force, and the Canadian police uniform supposedly stand for”.

During his December visit, Duraiappah participated in discussions with both Tennakoon and Tiran Alles. He reportedly discussed matters relating to the recent 'Yukthiya' Operation - a military operation that has seen tens of thousands arrested and come udner international scrutiny - and specifically discussed strengthening community police units twith Canadian support. Duraiappah went on to meet other senior government officials, including foreign minister Ali Sabry who recently lashed out at Canada’s Prime Minister and has repeatedly defended Sri Lanka’s tainted human rights record.

“Pleased to meet the Chief of Peel Regional Police of Canada Nishan Duraiappah,” tweeted Sabry, alongside photographs of Duraiappah and Canada’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Eric Walsh. “We also discussed cooperation in the area of community policing,” Sabry added. 

“This reported collaboration between Alles, and Chief Duraiappah, directly involves the Peel regional Police in violations of the human rights, of the Tamil Canadians, by police in Sri Lanka,” the TGTE said referring to the sullied reputation of Alles who has been named in the Pandora Papers, as having used Shell companies to own London Flats. 

“Although the Peel Regional Police Office has attempted to distance itself from the meetings and honours during his visit to Sri Lanka by claiming that the trip was a family visit; and denying Sri Lankan claims of having discussed community policing with him, such statements are not enough to undo the damage that Chief Duraiappah's public meetings, handshaking, and press conferences in Sri Lanka have caused,” the TGTE added. 

"In order to uphold the integrity of the Peel Regional Police, Tamil Canadians request the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) investigate this matter, and if there is any evidence of wrongdoing, recommend appropriate sanctions for the police personnel involved, and Chief Duraiappah be deprived of his Peel Police uniform permanently."

"The Peel Police Office must publicly reprimand Chief Duraiappah for wearing official Canadian police garb during what the Office claims were non-official meetings," the organisation added. "Without such a public statement, Sri Lanka will continue to use the power of the many images it captured of Chief Nishan Duraiappah in his official Canadian police uniform alongside Sri Lankan officials and forces for the States propaganda and ongoing nefarious ends."

Their call reflects growing outrage amongst Tamil Canadians over Duraiappah's visit.

Rathika Sitsabaiesan a former Canadian Member of Parliament, wrote in the Tamil Guardian that Peel Regional Police must apologise to its Tamil constituents.

"These actions on behalf of the Peel Regional Police have caused significant turmoil and harm to Tamil citizens in the Region of Peel and many in the diaspora community who are still healing through the many traumas caused by police and perpetrators in uniform," she said. 

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