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A Tamil diaspora group in the US has appealed to President Barack Obama to de-proscribe the LTTE as a terror outfit in the country, saying this could give a “little relief” to the community which faces problems while travelling abroad. The group ‘Tamils for Obama’ claimed that the LTTE has been defunct with no activities since 2009. In a statement, the group have said that many Tamils are “suffering” because of the listing of the LTTE as a terror group in the US.
“Because of the listing of Tamil Tigers, it creates pain for many US Tamils when they travel to abroad and when they return to the US,” the statement said.
“They have to go through many hours of interrogation. Some US Tamils have asked us to convince Obama to help us by removing Tamil Tigers from the list. Obama can give Tamils a little relief by de-listing the Tamil Tiger during this Christmas and giving season. There is no reason to keep them on the list,” it said.
The group said it was a “mistake” by the George Bush’s administration to support the Sri Lankan “genocidal war against the innocent Tamils”.
The Tamil groups also hope that the European Union would also de-list the LTTE. The US banned the LTTE in 1997 followed by India, UK and the EU.
The UN has estimated that 40,000 people died, many of them civilians, during the three-decade-long civil war that ended in 2009. It was under President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure that the Sri Lankan forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the separatist group that waged armed insurgency against the government.