Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi on Friday came down heavily on the Union government for its policy on Sri Lanka.
“Irrespective of the ‘hand of deep friendship’ extended by the Indian government, the Sri Lankan government is not ready to appreciate it. Instead, the Sri Lankan government has been taking steps to nourish its friendship with Pakistan and China, which have differences with India,” Mr Karunanidhi said, citing a couple of news articles published recently in The Hindu and ‘Dinamani.’
Even though it was part of protocol that the Union Minister sent a Minister to receive Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself hosted a dinner for the visiting dignitary, only those who had affection for Sri Lankan Tamils knew to what extent such gestures hurt the sentiments of Tamils.
Referring to reports in the media that anti-Indian activities were being carried out by Pakistan in Sri Lanka through Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the recent arrest of a suspected ISI operative in Tiruchi, Mr. Karunanidhi said they showed the close ties between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Fishing rights were said to have been given to Chinese firms off Pothuvil of Ampara district when the Sri Lankan Navy had been “continuously attacking” Indian fishermen.
He appealed to the Union government to take steps at least for defending the rights of the remaining Sri Lankan Tamils.
Later in the day, in a chat with reporters, Mr. Karunanidhi said it was not appropriate to accord reception to Mr.Rajapaksa, disregarding the opposition expressed by parties in the State.