India mum on Chennai attack

The Indian government remained silent today over the attack on the Bank of Ceylon office in Chennai with the Indian External Affairs Ministry saying there is no statement on the issue so far.

When the Colombo Gazette contacted the official spokesperson and joint secretary of the Indian External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin, he said there was no comment or statement on the attack at this moment.

Meanwhile India’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari today said the engagement with Colombo in no way means that the Centre is insensitive or tends to undermine the concerns of the DMK in Tamil Nadu.

Tewari said the government understands the sensitivities, which are involved with regard to the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils especially here in Tamil Nadu.

“We are engaged with the issue. We are absolutely in sync with some of the concerns, which have been articulated. And that is why at the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the Government of India had walked the extra mile, but then westphalian states also need to engage with each other. And therefore, I don’t think these two issues are mutually incompatible,” the Indian media quoted Tewari as saying.

The attack came in the wake of the visit to India by President Mahinda Rajapakse today. The President was greeted by protestors in Bodh Gaya in Bihar, where he visited Buddhist temples.

In cities that he did not tour, including Delhi and Chennai, large demonstrations were held against his two-day personal visit to India, with protestors demanding that he be held accountable for alleged atrocities against Sri Lankan Tamils, who are a minority in his country.

The Indian media said that 800 people in the Chittoor district, where the temple is located, just 135 kms from Chennai, had been taken into preventive custody. (Colombo Gazette)

Report by Easwaran Rutnam