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India embarrassed at attack on High Commission

world Updated: Oct 04, 2009 00:27 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

An embarrassed India had to carry out diplomatic damage control exercises with Sri Lanka after protesters forced their way into the Lankan high commission in the high security Chanakyapuri area on Friday.

The Lankan foreign ministry came out with a brief statement in Colombo, voicing its concerns.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi have conveyed Sri Lanka Government’s grave concerns and requested the Indian Government to conduct investigations into this incident,’’ it said.

A mob comprising 40-50 persons had arrived at the high commission and then forcibly entered the premises, causing some damages. They were carrying placards saying “Retrieve Kachativu from Sri Lanka”, “stop killing Tamil Nadu fishermen”.

Soon after, external affairs minister SM Krishna called Lankan foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama and assured him that security around the high commission had been strengthened. He added that action would be taken against those who had forced their way into the high commission.

Krishna’s phone call followed a statement from the ministry, expressing regrets about the incident.

“We deeply regret this unfortunate incident, which has involved an act of violence against a diplomatic Mission. The law enforcement agencies have swung into action. Security around the High Commission premises has been strengthened. Action as prescribed by the law will be taken against the perpetrators of this incident,” the statement said.

It’s not the first time that a Lankan embassy has been targeted. Earlier this year, the Lankan embassy in Oslo was ransacked. The incident further strained the diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Norway. Subsequently, the Mahinda Rajapaksa government told Norway that it was no longer required as the facilitator for talks with a third party. Norway had brokered the ceasefire agreement between the Lankan government and the LTTE.

In another development, a soldier, believed to have been behind the bomb explosion targeting a school van in Kurunegala on Friday, was arrested late last night. According to reports, the soldier had reportedly vacated his post at a nearby army camp, planted the bomb in the van and retuned undetected.