Colombo, Dec 10: India on Tuesday, Dec 9 officially lodged a protest with the island nation of Sri Lanka over the 'derogatory' remarks made by its Army chief Sarath Fonseka against some of the Tamil Nadu politicians. In return Colombo has expressed 'regret' over the remark.
Alok Prasad, the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka took up the issue with Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Lankan army chief in an interview termed Tamil Nadu politicians as 'political jokers'. Vishnu Prakash, the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson told media that the Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka promised to look into the matter and conveyed regrets should any such comment have been made.
"The Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka promised to look into the matter and conveyed regrets should any such comment have been made," Prakash said. Fonseka had said that the Indian Government would never influence Sri Lanka to restore the ceasefire with the Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and it would not listen to the 'political jokers' of Tamil Nadu whose "survival depends on the LTTE".
M Karunanidhi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has condemned Fonseka's statement and said that it was just not acceptable. After the TN politicians started pressurising the Indian government to ensure a ceasefire, relationships between politicians and Tamil Nadu had further strained.
Meanwhile, MDMK chief Vaiko, a staunch supporter of LTTE, took strong objection to Fonseka and asked the Centre to demand an unconditional apology from him. The Centre should also seek an explanation from Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse for the remarks, he said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Fonseka's controversial remarks came during an interview to the Sunday Observer, where he claimed that the Indian government would never influence Lanka to restore the ceasefire with LTTE as it would not listen to the political jokers of Tamil Nadu. He had specially targeted Nedumaran, the Tamil Nationalist Movement leader and Vaiko, the MDMK chief saying that if the LTTE was wiped out, political jokers like Nedumaran, Vaiko and those who sympathise with the LTTE would lose their income from the LTTE.
OneIndia News (With input from Agencies)