Many Sri Lankan nationals, who had planned to visit Tamil Nadu as tourists or pilgrims, cancelled their trips following a travel advisory issued by their Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday.
According to diplomats, a large number of citizens of the island nation who called the Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi and the Deputy High Commission in Chennai, were told to avoid visiting Tamil Nadu in view of the attacks on Buddhist monks and ongoing protests across the State.
“In the event of such visits having to take place due to compelling reasons, we have advised them to inform the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai well in advance,” a senior official in the office of the Deputy High Commissioner said.
The official said Sri Lanka had strongly condemned the attack on Buddhist monks in Thanjavur and Chennai by lodging a protest with the Government of India.
In a statement, Sri Lanka’s MEA said, “The Government of Sri Lanka whilst condemning such assaults carried out by extreme elements with vested interests in attempting to tarnish our friendly relations with India, is constrained to request Sri Lankan nationals to exercise caution when undertaking visits to the State of Tamil Nadu in India.”
Meanwhile, the State police have made elaborate security arrangements ahead of the State-wide protest called by student organisations on Wednesday. “We expect rail/road roko agitations in all cities/districts. Public transport is likely to be disrupted temporarily at many places. A few political parties may join the protest in all district headquarters,” a senior police official said.
In a related development, the Communist Party of India has called on Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to lead the agitation by bringing all protesting groups under one platform.
“There is no use in scattered protests. On behalf of the people of Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister should take forward this agitation in a peaceful manner. She should take up the responsibility of leading the protest,” Mr. Pandian said.