CHENNAI: Expressing dismay at the move of Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi to invite Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his swearing-in ceremony, Chief Minister
J Jayalalithaa on Thursday led the State in protesting against the “ill-advised” decision. Rajapaksa’s attendance was confirmed by the External Affairs Ministry on Twitter.
Jayalalithaa, who had expressed happiness in having “an era of meaningful cooperation” between the new government at the Centre and Tamil Nadu, expressed deep anguish at the invitation extended to Rajapaksa. “Particularly, with regard to the relationship of the new Central government with Tamil Nadu, it would have been better if this ill-advised move had been avoided,” she said in a statement here.
Stating that the people of Tamil Nadu had hoped that the new government at the Centre would be sympathetic to the cause of Tamils and friendly to Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa said that even before the new Prime Minister and the new government assumed office, the invitation to Rajapaksa had deeply upset the people of the State and wounded their sentiments all over again. “This move is tantamount to rubbing salt into the wounds of the already deeply injured Tamil psyche,” she added.
The Chief Minister pointed out that the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu and Tamils living in other parts of India and abroad were well known in the matter pertaining to Sri Lankan Tamils.
“The assumption of office by the new government in a few days in no way alters the already existing strained relations between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka,” she added.
Jayalalithaa further said the entire country, and indeed the entire world, was aware of the various resolutions passed in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly during the last three years, with regard to the war crimes, ethnic pogrom and genocide perpetrated against the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan Army under the Rajapaksa government during the final stages of the civil war in the island nation.
She also recalled that the Tamil Nadu Assembly had demanded an economic embargo on Sri Lanka and urged that India take the lead in
bringing a resolution in the United Nations for those accused of war crimes and genocide to be brought before the International Court of Justice and face trial.
But, the previous Central Government chose to ignore the resolutions passed by the Assembly by not taking any action and thereby trampled on the sentiments of the Tamils, the Chief Minister observed.