DMK to protest Rajapaksa visit

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 08, 2013 06:30 hrs

Chennai: Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) is expected to protest against the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Chennai on Friday, led by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, said reports.

The Sri Lankan President is scheduled to arrive in the city on Friday.

The protesters, who are likely to wear black dresses to convey their disapproval of Rajapaksa's visit, will be led by DMK chief's son and party treasurer MK Stalin.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi, whose party is a key ally in the UPA, said 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 it's 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.

MDMK leader Vaiko has left for Delhi and will be protesting outside Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence, a report on CNN-IBN said. MDMK holds Rajapakse responsible for killing of innocent Tamils in the last phase of the conflict between the Lankan army and rebel LTTE. The group will also stage a black flag protest at Tirupati.

Vaiko had earlier issued an ultimatum that his party cadres would lay "siege" to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence in New Delhi if Sri Lanka"s President visits the country.

"I have already declared in Sanchi, that if the UPA Government dares to invite the killer of Tamils, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the MDMK will hold a siege at 7, Race Course Road, the residence of the Prime Minister," Vaiko had said.

Rajapaksa is on a 'personal visit' and will fly from Colombo to Bodh Gaya first and then proceed to the Tirupati temple, 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.

Security beefed up in Tirupati

A large number of activists of Tamil groups from neighbouring Tamil Nadu Friday entered the temple town of Tirupati to stall Rajapaksa's visit.

Police arrested over 100 protestors, who sneaked into the town from Tamil Nadu. Security has been tightened across the town following intelligence reports that hundreds of protestors had already reached Tirupati.

Prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people have been imposed to prevent any untoward incident, an official said. 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. They were raising slogans against the visit by Sri Lankan president. Some wall posters have also come up in the town, opposing Rajapaksa's visit.

Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh is 50 km from Tamil Nadu border. The temple town is 135 km from Chennai.

The Sri Lankan president, along his family members and officials will arrive in a special aircraft Friday evening. After landing at Renigunta airport, about 15 km from Tirupati, they will motor up to Tirumala Hills.

After staying the night at Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam's Sri Padmavathi Guest House, the visiting dignitary will worship Lord Venkateswara in the early hours of Saturday.

According to temple officials, he will take part in the 'Suprabhatha' Seva at 3 a.m. Saturday. He will return to Renigunta airport and take off to Colombo at 9.30 a.m.

'Centre asked to discourage Rajapaksa visit'

The DMK has even asked the Centre recently 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.

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