Karunanidhi protests Rajapakse's India visit

Karunanidhi said the Sri Lankan President was not only trying to obliterate Tamils in the island nation but also their culture, tradition and the Tamil language itself.

NEW DELHI: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse was greeted by protests led by DMK chief M Karunanidhi during his two days India visit.

Leading a massive protest held by Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) against the president's India visit, Karunanidhi said: "Rajapaksa is trying to erase not only the Tamils in Sri Lanka but also the Tamil language."

Karunanidhi said the Sri Lankan government was changing the names of villages with Tamil names to that of Sinhalese.

He said the protest was being held to teach Rajapaksa a "lesson".

According to Karunanidhi, Tamils in Sri Lanka would have attained their goal of Tamil Eelam long back had they made their demand in one voice with unity.

Thousands of cadres belonging to DMK, VCK and other Tamil outfits and their leaders participated in the protest wearing black shirts.

The political parties in Tamil Nadu hold the Sri Lankan government headed by Rajapakse culpable for the alleged atrocities against the Sri Lankan Tamils, a minority in the island nation.

DMK is an important political ally of the Congress at the centre. Earlier, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had revealed that if the Indian government had not voted against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva, the DMK would pull out of the government.

India, last year, supported a U.S-backed resolution promoting reconciliation and accountability' in Sri Lanka following its army's victory in a 26-year-long civil war against the Tamil Tigers.

Rajapakse, who will be visiting the temples in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh over the next two days, will not meet with the Indian leaders.

The Sri Lankan president arrived in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, considered to be an important pilgrimage for the Buddhists on Friday morning. However, the visit here was marred by demonstrations by the student activists of the Left parties.

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