Feb 08 (TOI) NEW DELHI/CHENNAI- Protests have broken out in Chennai and New Delhi against the visit of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India. Tamil groups have taken to the street demanding that the Sri Lanka president return to his country.
In Delhi, MDMK chief Vaiko has courted arrest after leading a protest opposing Rajapaksa's visit. In Chennai, DMK chief Karunanidhi is spearheading the agitation.
Rajapaksa is in India for a two-day personal visit during which he will offer prayers at Bodh Gaya and Tirupathi but will not engage with Indian leaders, PTI reported. Andhra Pradesh police have imposed tight security.
He would visit Bodh Gaya and Tirupathi and the visit was of a personal nature, the presidential officials said here.
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.