Following outrage across the political spectrum in India, Sri Lanka has apologised to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa for a controversial article on the two leaders on the official website of its defence ministry.
AIADMK cadres holding a protest against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse in Chennai. (PTI photo)
Issuing an "unqualified apology", the Lankan government said the article was published "without proper authorization". The statement said that "the article doesn't reflect our government's official position".
Jayalalithaa wrote to the Prime Minister, urging the Centre to summon the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and seek an apology for the article titled 'How Meaningful Are Jayalalithaa's Love Letters to Narendra Modi'.
"The visual is objectionable as it depicts the PM and CM in a derogatory manner. It also attempts to cause fissures within India's federal politics," said the Tamil Nadu chief minister.
The article, which threatened to snowball into a diplomatic row, has now been removed.
Several political outfits staged demonstrations outside the Sri Lankan mission in Chennai. There were strong protests in Parliament too, with the CPI condemning it and asking the Centre to seek an apology from Colombo.
CPI national secretary D Raja, who gave a notice of suspension of Question Hour in Rajya Sabha over the issue, said the article carrying "nasty comments" on Jayalalithaa's letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the fishermen issue, was later taken off the site following protests.
The opposition Congress also called for an apology, while the ministry of external affairs spokesperson said that they had taken up the issue and the article was removed immediately.
Even Jayalalithaa's traditional political rival, the DMK party, came out in support of her. BJP's allies in TN, the MDMK and PMK, too condemned the piece.