Sri Lanka’s high commissioner to India on Thursday apologised to Indian MPs for his reported comments, which sought to link those questioning Colombo’s human rights record with the Tamil Tigers. The external affairs ministry had summoned the envoy to explain his comments.
“I would like to apologise to the MPs of Tamil Nadu if I have caused any discontent or concern or distress in their minds. I feel sorry about that,” high commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam told reporters here.
The diplomat was earlier quoted by a news report as saying that New Delhi should investigate Indian MPs sympathetic to the Tamil cause. “That is not what I meant,” Kariyawasam clarified.
“What I meant to say was that (there are) LTTE lobby groups abroad and in this region carrying out a campaign of disinformation (against Sri Lanka),” he said. This, he said, was aimed at disrupting the process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka, following the end of the long-drawn war in 2009.
He said that he meant to seek “investigation” of Tamil lobby groups abroad, not Indian MPs.
Kariyawasam said that the Indian foreign ministry official, who had met him, “expressed very clearly the concerns of the Indian government” over his reported remarks.
When asked what stand he expected India to take with regard to the US-sponsored resolution on “war crimes” in Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, he said: “India is a responsible country.”
The envoy's reported comments kicked up a political storm, with the DMK, AIDMK and Left parties protesting vociferously against it. Terming the envoy's conduct as gross violation of diplomatic norms, CPI leader D Raja had called for his immediate recall.