India summons Lanka envoy over ‘derogatory’ article

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 04, 2014 23:21 IST

The government summoned the Sri Lanka high commissioner on Monday to register its concern over an article on the Sri Lanka defence ministry website a few days ago, lampooning Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

External affairs ministry officials said the joint secretary in-charge of the Sri Lanka division conveyed in the “strongest possible words” to Sri Lanka high commissioner Sudharshan Seneviratne the “anger and concerns” of parliamentarians on the issue.

Earlier in Parliament, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj condemned the article and assured that the issue would be raised with the Sri Lanka high commission.

Read: SL govt website article says Jaya hampering ties

AIADMK MPs, led by V Maitreyan, trooped into the well of the Rajya Sabha, demanding a resolution to denounce the article, which they said was “derogatory” to party leader Jayalalithaa. Maitreyan said the article was an insult to both the Tamil Nadu and Union governments.

The MPs stalled proceedings in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha shouting slogans against Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“The issue raised by V Maitreyan is very serious,” said Swaraj in the Rajya Sabha. “India strongly condemns it.”

Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu also condemned the article, saying that the occasion did not call for diplomatic niceties.

“While matters concerning diplomatic relations are dealt with delicately, this is unacceptable and condemnable,” he said in the Lok Sabha.

Read: Lanka offers apology over Modi, Jayalalithaa article

AIADMK leader in the Lok Sabha, M Thambidurai, demanded the House adopt a “strong and unanimous resolution condemning Sri Lanka” so that such incidents do not recur.

Jayalalithaa had earlier said the visual rendering on the homepage of the Sri Lanka defence ministry website was highly objectionable as it depicted both the Prime Minister of India and the chief minister of Tamil Nadu in a “trivialised, derogatory and disrespectful manner”.

The Sri Lanka government had removed the article from the website after India raised its concern, and tendered an unconditional apology.


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