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Article critical of Jayalalithaa in Sri Lanka Army website creates furore

PTI 01 Aug 2014, 17:29:23 PM IST
Chennai: An article critical of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, accompanied by a picture of the leader with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Sri Lanka's army website on Friday created a furore in Tamil Nadu, with BJP allies PMK and MDMK seeking severing of diplomatic relations with the island nation.

Jayalalithtaa has urged Modi to seek an unconditional apology from the Sri Lankan government over the article. PMK founder S. Ramadoss said that the article was in bad taste and not only demeaned Jayalalithaa, but also Modi.

Referring to criticism in the article about Jayalalithaa writing letters to Modi on issues relating to Indian fishermen involving Sri Lanka, he said such commentary in an official government site amounted to ‘interfering' in the internal affairs of the country.

He alleged that the visit of a BJP delegation led by party leader Subramanian Swamy to Sri Lanka had emboldened that country to make such remarks.

Holding that India should not allow Sri Lanka to continue with such practices, he urged New Delhi to summon the envoy of that country and lodge a strong protest.

“The Sri Lankan President (Mahinda Rajapakse) and Defence Secretary should apologise for the article. If the Sri Lankan government declines to do so, India should not hesitate to sever its relations with that country,” Ramadoss said.

He said that it was not proper to degrade Jayalalithaa, who was not only an elected leader, but also a woman. MDMK leader Vaiko described the incident as “unforgivable” and said it showed the “atrocious” nature of the Sri Lankan Army.

Jayalalithaa's letters to Modi were not mere communication, but her “struggle” to ensure the welfare of the Sri Lankan Tamils, he said. “Those letters are representative of the feelings of 7.5 crore Tamil people,” he said and faulted the BJP delegation's visit to the island nation.

“India should immediately take action against Sri Lanka and sever ties with that country. Else there will be a suspicion if the Narendra Modi government had joined hands with Sri Lanka in its anti-Tamil measures,” he said.

TNCC president B.S. Gnanadesikan also criticised the article and said he had taken up the matter with the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission, seeking its removal from the website. “There may be political differences, but portraying a Chief Minister in an indecent manner is not acceptable,” he said.