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Sep 04, 2012 at 07:52pm IST

Sri Lankan pilgrims targeted in Tamil Nadu for 2nd day

Trichy: In spite of reassurance given by the UPA government to Sri Lanka that its citizens are safe in Tamil Nadu, protests, which are in their second day, have forced nearly 200 Sinhala tourists to cut their pilgrimage short.

The incident comes just days after the Tamil Nadu government refused permission and sent back a Sri Lankan football team visiting Chennai for a friendly match. And Colombo's travel advisory though triggered by the protests is seen as a retaliation to the decision of the Tamil Nadu government.

The face off comes in the midst of rising political heat in Tamil Nadu over the alleged attacks on it's fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy. Virtually every political force in the state has engaged in competitive posturing. But not all agree with Jayalalaithaa's sudden decision to send back a friendly football team.

"In sports it's common for countries to play against each other. Other issues need not come in between," DMK chief Karunanidhi said.

Only recently New Delhi was embarrassed by protests from Chennai over India training Lankan defence personnel, and this time it continue to do a delicate balancing act between Chennai and Colombo.

The question now is how much damage the competitive politics of posturing in Tamil Nadu will do to India-Sri Lanka ties.