Some allies go silent on Rajapaksa visit; Opposition condemns invite

Ramadoss calls up Modi, but keeps mum on the issue

May 23, 2014 03:57 am | Updated November 16, 2021 07:01 pm IST - CHENNAI:

While the BJP’s decision to invite Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony has evoked protest from its allies and other parties, including the ruling AIADMK, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam and the Pattali Makkal Katchi have so far maintained silence on this issue.

On Thursday morning, PMK founder S. Ramadoss called up Mr. Modi and congratulated him on the BJP’s massive victory in the Lok Sabha elections. A party statement said Mr. Modi greeted Dr. Ramadoss in Tamil initially. Mr. Ramadoss said he liked Mr. Modi’s mantra of ‘With everyone always, for everybody’s development.’

“All the people in the country are behind you. I am sure India will transform into a strong nation under your leadership,” Dr. Ramadoss told Mr. Modi.

But the invitation to Mr. Rajapaksa did not figure in the conversation, though, in the past, Dr. Ramadoss, along with MDMK general secretary Vaiko, vehemently opposed his visit.

According to PMK sources, Dr. Ramadoss has decided not to react as it may upset the prospects of his son Anbumani getting a berth in the Union Cabinet.

Actor Vijayakant, who was praised by Mr. Modi in the Central Hall of Parliament on Tuesday, has not yet reacted to the development.

It will hurt Tamil sentiments: VCK

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi president Thol. Thirumavalavan, another strong supporter of a separate state for Tamils in Sri Lanka, has condemned the invitation.

In a statement here, he said his party welcomed the aim of inviting South Asian leaders, especially that of Pakistan, to facilitate cordial relationship with neighbouring countries. “But at a time when the United Nations Human Rights Council is inquiring into the war crimes during the final phase of Eelam War, inviting Mr Rajapaksa for the swearing-in ceremony will hurt the sentiments of Tamils and cause a setback to the international efforts at securing justice for the Tamils,” he said.

Mr. Tirumavalavan said Sri Lanka could not be treated on a par with other neighbouring countries. “Over 500 Tamil Nadu fishermen have been killed, and the island nation was waging a proxy war against India. Realising this difference, the BJP should cancel the invitation,” he said.

He called upon political leaders of Tamil Nadu to boycott the ceremony if Mr. Rajapaksa attended it.

In a letter to Mr. Modi, Mr. Vaiko requested him to “totally avoid” the presence of Mr. Rajapaksa at the ceremony. Officials of the External Affairs Ministry who guided India to oppose the resolution moved by the U.S. and the U.K. at the UNHRC meeting in Geneva misled the new government with the same mindset, he said. He also spoke to BJP president Rajnath Singh on the issue, says a release.

Dravidar Kazhagam president K. Veeramani asked the BJP not to invite Mr. Rajapaksa, a “proclaimed war criminal.” There was no precedent for inviting SAARC leaders to the swearing-in of a prime minister, he said, claiming the Sri Lankan military’s “atrocities” against the Tamils continued even five years after the end of the war.

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