Provide security to our citizens, Sri Lanka tells India

Colombo, Feb 8 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government has requested the Indian government to provide security to its citizens residing in India after a branch of Sri Lanka's state-run bank was attacked, a statement said here Friday.

The ministry of external affairs said in a statement that the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai has reported that a mob of around 15 people, carrying iron rods, wooden sticks and knives, entered the office of the Bank of Ceylon Branch in Chennai Thursday.

The attack came ahead of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit to India Friday. The visit has been condemned by south Indian political parties who have also arranged protests during the tour, reported Xinhua.

The ministry requested the Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi to seek the assistance of the Indian government in providing security to other Sri Lankan establishments such as Maha Bodhi Society, Sri Lankan Airlines offices and to all other Sri Lankans living in India in the wake of the bank attack.

On Thursday, the mob overpowered two police personnel and a security guard of a private company manning the gate of the premises, smashed the window panels of the security room of the Bank of Ceylon Office and the glass doors of the ATM centre and injured two staff members of the bank.

The Bank of Ceylon is Sri Lanka's largest state-run bank.

"The two injured bank staff were admitted to hospital in Chennai and are out of danger. The deputy high commission has taken steps to contact the police authorities and security is maintained at the Bank of Ceylon premises," the statement said.

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