Protests welcome Sri Lankan president

Feb 09, 2013, 03:28 IST | Agencies

MDMK chief Vaiko and scores of his supporters were detained in New Delhi; DMK chief Karunanidhi too headed protests against the visit of Mahinda Rajapaksa to India

Vaiko and his supporters were detained when they tried to march from Parliament Street towards the Prime Minister’s residence yesterday. According to reports, Vaiko and his supporters tried to break the barricade. The leader was protesting at Jantar Mantar since morning against Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa’s visit.

MDMK activists burn an effigy of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse against his visit to India during a protest in New Delhi. Pic/AFP

Addressing his supporters, Vaiko said, “We will not forgive the Manmohan Singh government for supporting Sri Lanka in its war against Tamils.” MDMK supporters burnt the Sri Lankan president’s effigy and shouted slogans against him. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo M Karunanidhi held protest against Rajapaksa’s visit in Chennai.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi, whose party is a key ally in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), said Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) is staging the protest to send a clear message to the Sri Lankan President as well as the Centre since the island government failed to keep its promise.

“Central government should realise at least now that the island government is not keeping its promises after the Sri Lankan President ruled out autonomy for Tamil areas,” Karunanidhi was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Rajapaksa, who is on a ‘personal visit’, went to the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya yesterday.

He will visit the Tirupati temple today before returning to Sri Lanka. The Lankan president is avoiding New Delhi during this trip despite concerns over how India will vote in the upcoming UN human rights meet in Geneva. The DMK recently asked the Centre to discourage the visit of the Sri Lankan president to India, said reports.

The party criticised Rajapaksa’s decision for ruling out greater political autonomy for Tamils, saying India should at least ‘wake up’ now and help secure their livelihood and democratic rights. “Rajapaksa has failed to honour the promise given to India and other global organisations for long on granting political autonomy with the latest announcement which should be condemned,” Karunanidhi was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka was accused of war crimes and human rights violations by pro-Tamil groups and many international organisations during the final phase of war against the Tamil tigers which reportedly resulted in the deaths of about one lakh civilians.

Tirupati beefs up security
A large number of Tamil activists from Tamil Nadu entered the temple town of Tirupati in Andhra in a bid to to stall Rajapaksa’s visit. Police arrested over 100 protesters. Police said protesters may have sneaked into Tirupati. Prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people were imposed in the town. A large number of security personnel have been deployed along the route from the airport to Tirumala. Some activists were arrested when they arrived at the Tirupati railway station Friday morning.

Bodh Gaya visit
Sri Lankan President Mahindha Rajapaksa, accompanied by his wife Shiranthi Rajpaksa and a 70-member delegation, visited the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya. Rajapaksa was received by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Rajapaksa meditated before a peepal tree where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and visited the Sri Lankan Buddhist Vihar in the town. 

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