Protests mar Sri Lankan President visit - The New Indian Express

Protests mar Sri Lankan President visit

Published: 09th February 2013 07:41 AM

Last Updated: 09th February 2013 07:42 AM

A string of protests rocked the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu on Friday against the visit of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa to Tirupati with the principal opposition, the DMK, leading a sit-in agitation in the state capital under the banner of Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation (TESO).

Denouncing the Lankan government’s move to rename several Tamil villages in the island nation in Sinhala, DMK chief M Karunanidhi told the protestors that the aim of renaming the villages was to wipe out Tamil race. “Srirangam used to be Thiruvarangam. It was changed and the ‘Sri’ sneaked in. Thiruvilliputhur was our Tamil name, which was changed to Srivilliputhur,” said Karunanidhi, adding a few more examples. “Just as the enemies of our race inserted that north Indian ‘Sri’ in our names, Rajapaksa is renaming Tamil villages in Sinhala,” he added.

Elsewhere in the city, a slew of protests were held by several outfits where over 400 persons took part, burning effigies of Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Lankan flag.

Naam Tamilar Party members conducted a mock funeral of Rajapaksa marching towards the Lankan Deputy Mission on Kothari Road, where police stopped them. Thirty people were

arrested.

The Tamilar Ezhuchi Iyakkam members blocked one lane of traffic on Anna Salai for about 30 minutes and burnt effigies of Rajapaksa and Manmohan Singh.

In T.Nagar, the Tamilar Munnetra Kalagam members led by Adhiyaman attempted to close down the Tirumala Tirupati Devsathanam. Nearly 80 members of Makkal Viduthalai Katchi and the New Justice party were arrested when they attempted lay a siege to the Lankan Deputy Mission. The CPI, led by State secretary D Pandian, protested in front of Loyola College.

While reports of effigy burning and road blockade were received from every nook and corner of the state, members of Viduthalai Chiruthaikkal Katchi, Naam Tamilar Katchi, Tamil Desa Poduvudamai Katchi and Shiva Sena attempted to block trains in some places. They were arrested. Even students and lawyers joined the protests at several places.

In Tirumala and Tirupati, policemen had a tough time rounding up protestors as they arrived in the droves.

Sources said nearly 7,000 security personnel were deployed all around the Tirumala shrine.

Posters of Rajapaksa appeared in Tirupati depicting him as Adolf Hitler and Ravanasura. At Urban Hut, protesters garlanded Rajapaksa posters with slippers.

In New Delhi, MDMK Chief Vaiko and his supporters were arrested when they tried to march towards PM’s  residence - 7 Race Course Road - from Jantar Mantar in the national capital.

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