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Indian Govt Summons Sri Lankan High Commissioner

Objectionable article on Modi / Jayalitha pulled down

Tamil Nadu CM writes to PM to demand unconditional apology from Sri Lanka Govt

AIADMK MPs raise issue in Parliament  

By TN Ashok Diplomatic Editor

New Delhi, Aug 01 The Indian Government today summoned the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Delhi, Sudershan Seneveratne , and took up seriously the matter of a “objectionable article on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha” in the wake of a public outcry against the same in the state and vociferous protests in Parliament by AIADMK MPs.

“The Indian government has acted with alacrity on the issue and has taken up the matter with the high commissioner of Sri Lanka in India. Action has been taken forthwith. The objectionable article is no longer on the website”, Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, told newsmen today.

Street protests by people from all spheres of life across Tamil Nadu and AIADMK MPs registering strong protests in parliament marked the day as an objectionable article titled “How meaningful are Jayalalitha’s love letters to Narendra Modi?” appeared on the website of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development written by a Sinhalese journalist Shenali D Waduge appeared.

What was taken as objectionable to the article was an image showing Jayalalitha at her official desk writing a letter with an insert of Modi in the shape of a valentine heart and fishermens boats in the backdrop.

The spokesman said if any further action needs to be taken on the matter by the foreign office , the government would not hesitate to take.

Meanwhile the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha has written a strong protest letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that India seek an unconditional apology from the government of Sri Lanka on the issue.

She said :”I therefore request you to immediately direct the ministry of external affairs to summon the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and clearly express Indias’s displeasure at the manner in which the article was hosted on the official website of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Government of Sri Lanka”.

Jayalalitha said ” The visual rendering on the homepage of the official website just above the link is highly objectionable as it depicted both the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in a very trivialized, derogatory and disrespectful manner.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said the article itself contained certain unwarranted and unfounded comments about the very valid and serious issues that I have consistently been raising relating to the repeated instances of harassment by the Sri Lankan Navy of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu fishing in their traditional waters.

“ This is a livelihood issue for lakhs of fishermen families in my State whose cause I have been espousing and will continue to espouse strongly. I have also clearly explained the legal basis on which the Government of Tamil Nadu refuses to recognize the unlawful ceding of Katchatheevu under the Indo-Sri Lanka agreements of 1974 and 1976 and the issue pertaining to the alignment of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). “”

Jayalalitha said the article’s  analysis also “” ascribes motives to me without any basis at all, including the insinuation that I demanded the release of boats which are crucial to the survival of fishermen families, because some of these may belong to her or her supporters”. This is a vile, distasteful and baseless allegation. The article also tries to mischievously create fissures within India’s federal polity where none exist through statements like: “Obviously she is attempting to dent the popularity of the Indian Prime Minister…….”.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said that while she had faced criticism and comment from many sources, this blatant attempt to ridicule, and trivialize the untiring efforts made by a democratically elected leader to resolve an important livelihood issue of the fishermen of Tamil Nadu by hosting a highly objectionable article prominently on the official website of an important Ministry of a neighboring country, was completely unacceptable.

The added visual image on the website is clearly aimed at denigrating the elected leaders of India, the world’s largest democracy, and particularly a 66 year old woman political leader of many years standing. These are affronts to India which cannot be ignored or lightly brushed aside, she said.

More importantly, although there was a disclaimer on the website stating that the Ministry of Defense bears no responsibility for the ideas and opinion expressed by the numerous contributors to the “Opinion Page” of the website, the visual itself depicting the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu is not part of the article written by a journalist but a visual deliberately and mischievously put up on the official website itself. “This reprehensible visual itself clearly indicates that these are not necessarily the views of the author but of the Sri Lankan Government itself. She charged.

Jasyalalitha said:”I understand that, following the public outcry in Tamil Nadu, the article and the visual have both been surreptitiously removed from the official website. However, the damage has already been done, she said.  .

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