DMK holds black flag protest over Sri Lankan President's visit to India

Chennai/New Delhi, Feb 8 (ANI): The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) is holding a demonstration today in Chennai in protest against the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa is on a two-day personal visit to India during which he will offer prayers at Bodh Gaya and Tirupati, but will not engage with Indian leaders.

Party chief M Karunanidhi, who is leading the protests in black outfit, said the protest under the banner of the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) is aimed at sending a clear message to the Sri Lankan President as well as to the Centre.

The DMK chief, whose party is a key UPA ally, said the "Central Government should realise at least now that the island government is not keeping its promises after the Sri Lankan President ruled out autonomy for Tamil areas."

The DMK has recently asked the Centre not to encourage the visit of the Sri Lankan president to India.

The party strongly criticised Rajapaksa for ruling out greater political autonomy for Tamils, saying India should at least "wake up" now and help secure their livelihood and democratic rights.

Meanwhile, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) general secretary Vaiko is protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi against the Sri Lankan President visit.

Vaiko had earlier issued an ultimatum that his party cadres would lay "siege" to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence in New Delhi if Sri Lanka"s President visits the country.

"I have already declared in Sanchi, that if the UPA Government dares to invite the killer of Tamils, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the MDMK will hold a siege at 7, Race Course Road, the residence of the Prime Minister," Vaiko had said.

President Rajapaksa's September 2012 visit to Sanchi to inaugurate a Buddhist institution had provoked both furor and outrage among Tamil organisations, since they accused him of having committed human rights violations. (ANI)

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