Karunanidhi, Ramadoss want invitation reconsidered

The chorus against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s participation in the May 26 swearing-in of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister grew louder on Friday, with DMK chief M. Karunanidhi and PMK founder S. Ramadoss seeking reconsideration of the invitation.

MDMK general secretary Vaiko met Mr. Modi and BJP president Rajnath Singh in New Delhi and made a fervent appeal that the Sri Lankan President be prevented from participating in the event. Mr. Modi is learnt to have assured him that no bilateral issues will be discussed with Mr. Rajapaksa.

In a statement, Mr. Karunanidhi said the invitation to Mr. Rajapaksa and his participation could never be welcomed by the Tamils in the mainland and across the world. The Congress-led UPA government ignored the repeated warnings on the anti-Tamil attitude of the Sri Lankan government and treated Sri Lanka as a “friendly state,” and everyone knew the consequences of such a policy, he said.

The BJP government, to be sworn in shortly, should understand the sensitive ethnic underpinnings of the issue in the initial stage itself, he said.

Dr. Ramadoss, under pressure to react, said the Centre should have avoided inviting Mr. Rajapaksa, who faced an international investigation over war crimes, to the swearing-in. Extending his greetings to Mr. Modi once again, Dr. Ramadoss said the Centre, respecting the Tamil sentiments, should reconsider its decision to invite Mr. Rajapaksa.

Speaking to The Hindu on the phone, Mr. Vaiko said he discussed the matter at a 35-minute meeting with Mr. Modi when he detailed the atmosphere prevailing in Sri Lanka and the human rights violations indulged in by the Rajapaksa government against Tamils.

“I told Mr. Modi that there could only be two outcomes from this situation: Mr. Rajapaksa gloating over his achievement of attending the “swearing-in and thereby the Tamils being saddened with grief; or the invitation being withdrawn to the delight of Tamils worldwide,” he said.

Stage protest: Nedumaran

Thanjavur Special Correspondent reports:

Pazha Nedumaran, president of the Ulaga Thamizhar Permaippu, has appealed to political parties and Tamil outfits to stage demonstrations in all district headquarters on May 26 to protest Mr. Rajapaksa’s visit.

In Tiruchi, workers of the Puthiya Tamizhagam and the Vidhuthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi staged a protest on Friday. \

Self-immolation bid

A 31-year-old man attempted self-immolation in Salem on Friday, opposing the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has been invited to attend the swearing-in of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister on May 26. C. Vetrivel doused himself with kerosene on the premises of the Integrated Court Complex. Immediately, people caught hold of him. The Hasthampatti police was informed. He was warned and let off, police said.

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