Protest in Delhi against Rajapaksa's India visit

New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) Around 134 MDMK members, including general secretary Vaiko, were Friday detained while they led a protest in the national capital against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's two-day India visit.

The protestors were detained around noon and let off three hours later, a senior police officer told IANS. They were trying to march towards the Prime Minister's House at 7 Race Course Road, the officer said.

Holding placards for "Strict Action Against Rajapaksa" and shouting slogans against him, Vaiko, a supporter of the now vanquished Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and his partymen gathered in Parliament Street in the heart of Delhi.

They denounced Rajapaksa for ruling out autonomy for Tamil areas.

In view of the protests, police teams were also deployed outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in the Chanakyapuri diplomatic enclave in central Delhi.

The Sri Lankan president Friday prayed at Buddhism's holiest shrine at Bodh Gaya in Bihar and flew to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh amid scattered protests against his Indian pilgrimage.

The brief trip -- Rajapaksa flies back Saturday after spending a night in Tirupati -- has also triggered protests in Tamil Nadu, Tirupati and Hosur in Karnataka.

Termed a "personal visit", the president is avoiding New Delhi despite Sri Lankan concerns over how India will vote in the upcoming UN human rights meet in Geneva.

Last year, India voted for a US-sponsored resolution urging Sri Lanka to go for reconciliation and speedily rehabilitate those derailed by the long running ethnic conflict that ended in May 2009.

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