Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa laid the foundation stone for a University of Buddhist and Indic Studies at Sanchi on Friday even as MDMK general secretary Vaiko and his supporters were arrested in Chhindwara for violating prohibitory orders.
Mr. Rajapaksa, who was accompanied by Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Y. Thinley, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Governor Ram Naresh Yadav, gave out a message of peace and harmony in his address following the ceremony.
Praising the contributions of Mahatma Gandhi to peace and non-violence and those of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to the revival of Buddhist thought in India, Mr. Rajapaksa said peace was a joint mission of people of both India and Sri Lanka.
The President marvelled at the grand stupas of Sanchi, offered worship at the site and planted tree saplings during his 40-minute visit.
Mr. Vaiko, who was protesting against Mr. Rajapaksa’s visit, was arrested on the M.P.-Maharashtra border after the police found him violating prohibitory orders.
“He and 736 of his supporters tried to enter Madhya Pradesh, violating prohibitory orders and they were arrested and taken to an open jail 50 km from here,” Chhindwara SP Purushottam Sharma told The Hindu.
“They were released at 5 p.m. and left for Chennai [at 7:15 pm],” said Mr. Sharma.
Mr. Chouhan on Thursday said his government “did not want to arrest Mr. Vaiko.”
Mr. Vaiko has accused Mr. Rajapaksa of committing genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Over the last one week, Mr. Chouhan had repeatedly urged Mr. Vaiko to call off the protest but the MDMK leader was firm on his resolve.