Sri Lankan army chief’s reported remarks dubbing some Tamil Nadu politicians as a bunch of “political jokers” on “payrolls of the LTTE” have triggered a storm here.
Political leaders have sought an immediate and unconditional apology from Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka for his remarks, reported in a Colombo English daily. Some have demanded that the Lankan missions be closed down.
Though Lt Gen Fonseka reportedly named only two politicians, known to be sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who is also the DMK chief, condemned the remarks, “if they have been uttered”. PMK leader S. Ramadoss wanted the CM to take up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but Karunanidhi said the PMO would be in know of it anyway.
The CPI, PMK and Dalit Panthers of India, another pro-LTTE outfit, held protests and burnt effigies of the Lankan chief.
The PMK, a part of the UPA at the Centre, demanded an apology from Fonseka, while Vaiko-led MDMK will hold a protest outside the Lankan Deputy High Commissioner’s Office here on Tuesday.
“Our High Commissioner in Colombo took up the issue strongly with the Sri Lankan defence secretary. The defence secretary promised to look into the matter and conveyed regrets should any such comment have been made,” external affairs ministry’s spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said.