For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
by G Saravanan
CHENNAI: Irked over the unlawful detention of a cargo of Tamil books headed for Canada via container by Sri Lankan authorities at Colombo Port, Chennai-based Manitham International, which published and exported the books, has appealed to the Chief Minister to take action to release it.
About 1,400 books (on Tamil massacres in Lanka) in 45 cartons were transported in early May from Chennai through MV Hansa Stavanger, a ship to Toronto. When the container carrying the books was unloaded at Colombo Port on May 11 for transshipment to Canada, the Lankan government confiscated the container claiming the books were LTTE propaganda material.
Ridiculing the Lankan stand, executive director of Manitham Agni Subramaniam said, “Confiscating transit cargo is illegal. If they have a problem with any cargo, they should return it to the originating country. Without looking inside the container, how can they claim it was propaganda material?”
According to port sources only the destination country (Canada, in this case) has the right to open the container when it docks there.