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Rajapaksa visit: Mixed reactions in Lanka

The Sri Lankan media feels that little has been achieved in terms of country's ethnic problem, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2006 22:17 IST

President Mahinda Rajapaksa's four-day visit to India, which ended last Friday, has been viewed differently by the majority Sinhalas and the minority Tamils.

The Sinhalas feel that precious little has been achieved in terms of the country's number one problem - the ethnic issue.

But the Tamils feel that India has shown greater sensitivity to the Tamils' sentiment than ever before in recent times. While the Sinhalas feel let down, the Tamils feel that India has taken the right stand and told Rajapaksa what he ought to do.

In his column in The Sunday Times the Political Editor said that while Sri Lankans of all walks of life were hoping that India would step in and help Sri Lanka tackle the LTTE, all that the troubled island country got was an offering of " intellectual and academic resources" in support of the peace process.

"In that respect Rajapaksa and his party (of 48 ministers, officials and aides) returned empty-handed," the paper said.

"Lost in the wind was Rajapaksa's much publicised commitment to a settlement within a unitary Sri Lanka," it pointed out.

"It became clear that no homework had been done with the South Block in New Delhi ahead of the visit," it observed. As regards Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's opting out of a meeting with Rajapaksa in Chennai, the paper said that the embarrassment to the President could have been avoided if there were good intelligence inputs about the mood in Tamil Nadu.

In an angry article in Daily Mirror on Monday, leading columnist K Godage said: " India has indeed been treating us (Sri Lankans) like a leper and avoiding involvement like the plague only because President Premadasa requested them to leave as they had not completed their obligations even after three years in this country."

Godage pointed out how India had made no comment on the LTTE's proposal for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) for the North Eastern Province, though it did not accord with any known concept of a federal structure.

New Delhi had made no comment on the LTTE's demand for a portion of the Indian Ocean though this impinged in India's security. India had not commented on the membership of the truce monitoring committee let alone its "misdeeds".

First Published: Jan 02, 2006 18:14 IST