New Delhi: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is on a two-day personal visit to India during which he will offer prayers at Bodh Gaya and Tirupati but will not engage with Indian leaders. However, pro-Tamil groups including MDMK are protesting Rajapaksa's visit.
The DMK-backed Tamil Ealam Supporters' Organisation will hold a protest wearing black outfits. DMK leaders M Karunanidhi, his daughter Kanimozhi and son Stalin are leading the protests in Chennai, while MDMK's Vaiko is staging protests in Delhi.
Vaiko also plans to protest outside the Prime Minister's residence. MDMK holds Rajapaksa responsible for killing of innocent Tamils in the last phase of the conflict between the Sri Lankan army and rebel LTTE.
The group will also stage a black flag protest at Tirupati. Prohibitory orders have been imposed in Tirupati in view of the protests.
Rajapaksa would not be visiting New Delhi, officials asserted, dismissing notions that the Sri Lankan President might engage some of the Indian leaders with a view to seek New Delhi's support on the US moved resolution against Sri Lanka at the next UN Human Rights Council sessions in March.
Sri Lankan forces had crushed Tamil rebels in May 2009 after nearly three decades of brutal fighting. The conflict claimed up to 1,00,000 lives, according to UN estimates, and both sides are accused of war crimes. Sri Lanka while formulating an action plan for implementation maintained that most of the recommendations were already put in to effect.
At the UN Human Rights Council session last year the India-backed US sponsored resolution urged the Sri Lankan government to show progress on reconciliation. Despite the private nature of the visit the Indian authorities have extended full security cooperation for the Sri Lankan President's visit, Prasad Kariyawasam, Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in India said.
"The President would be given full protection by the Indian authorities", Kariyawasam said. Some groups in Chennai have been opposing the Rajapaksa visit and had urged the Indian government to cancel it.
With Additional Inputs from PTI