Says it will not deter him from visiting India again

The attempt in Rameswaram to attack Thirukumaran Nadesan, a Tamil businessman known in India as Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's relative, has both shocked and saddened him.

“I have been there so many times. I was in Tiruchendur in November; I have been to Rameswaram so many times. In fact, I have been going to the temples in India for the last 26 years, to Tiruchendur for kanda shasti, to Rameswaram, and to conducted yagnas in Varanasi, Hardwar. Nothing happened all this time,” he said.

Mr. Nadesan said he was forced to see a pattern in the attempted attack on him and a few other Sri Lankan politicians.

“I think both the Tamil Nadu government and the government of India have to step up action against these elements, these hooligans… In my opinion, these incidents should not affect relations between the two countries. If they do, then we are merely playing into the hands of these elements who want to create a rift between the people of the two countries. This should actually be used to strengthen the relationship,” he told The Hindu, at his Barnes Place residence in the city.

But he said the attack would not deter him from visiting India again.

Mr. Nadesan, who is a trustee in many Hindu charitable endowments and temples in Sri Lanka and prominent member of the Jaffna Tamil community in Colombo, thanked organisations and individuals who came forward to support him soon after the attack, but felt that the police had not done enough. “This drama was stage-managed for some cheap publicity,” he said adding that there was no need to provide him security in India.

He has also written to Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha, detailing the incidents.

Fishermen's associations in Tamil Nadu condemned the January 10 attack and demanded the arrest of all those involved. Mr. Nadesan did not prefer a complaint with the police, and the fishermen associations said they had asked the police to act on a complaint filed by the local priest. All those involved in the incident have since been arrested.

Asked if he did all the poojas for the welfare of Mr. Rajapaksa, Mr.Natesan said: “His Excellency became President only about five years ago. I have been doing poojas for more than 25 years. This contention is irrelevant.”

Asked why he preferred to conduct poojas in India and not Sri Lanka, he said that as a firm believer in the Hindu scriptures, he wanted to do certain poojas in certain places.

“Tiruchendur is the place where Lord Muruga fought and defeated the Asuras. So Tiruchendur's festival of Kanda shasti cannot be equalled to any other festival anywhere else. The purpose of going to Rameswaram is to conduct rituals for my ancestors… You don't get these sacred places in any other part of the world to do these rituals.”

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