Lanka envoy says sorry,uproar in RS

A day after the Sri Lankan envoy to India Prasad Kariyawasam said that Indian government should investigate MPs sympathetic to the LTTE

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:March 16, 2012 3:53 am

A day after the Sri Lankan envoy to India Prasad Kariyawasam said that Indian government should investigate MPs sympathetic to the LTTE,Tamil MPs criticised his comments in the Rajya Sabha forcing the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to summon him. The envoy has expressed regret for his comments.

In an interview to The Indian Express on Wednesday,Kariyawasam had said,“If they are sympathetic to the LTTE cause,then Indian authorities should investigate.”

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour on Thursday,the CPI’s D Raja waved a copy of The Indian Express news report.

He was joined by DMK’s T Shiva and Kanimozhi,and some MPs from the Left and AIADMK,who demanded that the government should lodge a strong protest with Sri Lanka against the envoy’s statement.

Kariyawasam was on Thursday summoned by the MEA where Harsh Vardhan Shringla,Joint Secretary (Sri Lanka),conveyed India’s concern in the matter and sought clarification about his comments.

“As regards my comments in The Indian Express,the MEA has expressed concern about the tone and content. I am very sorry about that because that is not what I meant. I have lot of respect for Tamil Nadu parliamentarians. Some of them are good friends…I would like to apologise to the MPs of Tamil Nadu if I have caused any sort of discontent or concern or distress in their minds…What I meant was LTTE lobby groups,abroad and elsewhere in the region as well,are carrying on a campaign of mis-information and try to disrupt our efforts to find reconciliation…,” he told reporters outside the South Block.

Offended by the envoy’s remarks,the DMK and AIADMK members in the RS gave notices seeking to move a motion against him for breach for privilege. CPI’s D Raja rejected the apology and demanded that New Delhi ask Colombo to recall him.

“It is absurd….. Not becoming of a high commissioner,” senior DMK leader T R Baalu said. “We are going to insist on initiation of privilege proceedings against the High Commissioner. He apologised only to the media. He did not apologise to the MPs,” said the AIADMK’s A W Rabi Bernard.

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