COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today expressed regret over an objectionable article on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa posted on the Defence Ministry website that triggered a furore in India.
"I regret that it has happened. I have called for a report on it," Rajapaksa told reporters here. The article titled 'How meaningful are Jayalalitha's love letters to Narendra Modi?' had appeared on the Lankan Defence Ministry's website along with a graphical portrayal of Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
The defence ministry later removed the article from its website and offered an unqualified apology to India. "We extend an unqualified apology to the Hon Prime Minister of India and Hon Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu," it said in a statement posted on its website.
Maj Gen Kapila Hendavitharana speaking on behalf of the defence ministry said the article had been posted on the Defence Ministry website without permission.
Hours after the article was published, it created a furore in India, with BJP allies PMK and MDMK seeking severing of diplomatic relations with the island nation.
Jayalalithtaa had urged Prime Minister Modi to seek unconditional apology from Lankan government over the article.
India's External Affairs Ministry yesterday summoned Lankan High Commissioner Sudharshan Seneviratne in New Delhi and lodged a protest against the article.
Seneviratne was conveyed the "anger and concerns" among parliamentarians on the issue in the strongest possible words by the Joint Secretary in-charge of Sri Lanka division in MEA.