Protests and burning of effigies opposing the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the valediction of Commonwealth Games caused commotion at Gandhipuram on Thursday and 143 persons were removed by police, including general secretary of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Vaiko.
Among those arrested included Indu Makkal Katchi leader Arjun Sampath, MDMKs City and Rural District Secretaries, R.R. Mohan Kumar and R.T. Mariappan. The MDMK had called for a demonstration opposing the invitation for Mahinda Rajapaksa from the Union government and his visit. Mr. Vaiko sprang a surprise by his presence.
Mr.Vaiko accused the Union government of “thanking Rajapaksa for killing lakhs of Tamil population in the Island Nation in the name of war against terrorism” by inviting him for the valediction. He accused the All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of taking the Tamils for granted and dubbed the invitation and the visit as an unpardonable offence. They were later released in the evening.
Activists of the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam attempted to stage a demonstration and burnt notices and a flex banner opposing the visit of Mr. Rajapaksa. Twenty-four Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi activists, including two women, attempted to stage a demonstration at the Gandhipuram signal.