UNP condemns attacks on Lankan pilgrims


UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wicikremesinghe says that the relationship between the Lankan Government and Tamil Nadu state is at a very low ebb and it has the potential to break up the historic ties between the people of the two lands.

In a statement condemning the recent attack on a group of pilgrims to Tamil Nadu, the UNP leader says that there were some government ministers who describe Tamil Nadu political leaders as members of the LTTE organization. "Their threats against Tamil Nadu leaders would never contribute to creating a positive relationship between Sri Lanka and its immediate neighbour. The governments can have various opinions and standpoints. But we should not let these political agendas cause damage to the national policies. We call upon the people of Sri Lanka not to be misled by those politically motivated threats against Tamil Nadu leaders," he says in the statement.

The relationship between India and Sri Lanka dates back to time immemorial. The relationships developed on social, religious, economic and cultural foundations could and should not be severed by narrow minded political verbosities, he said.

"Today, there is no conflict between the races in Sri Lanka. Likewise no one coming from Tamil Nadu or other parts of India to Sri Lanka needs to harbour any fears of being assaulted or turned back owing to his or her nationality. However, the relationship between the two nations has been strained in the aftermath of an attack on a group of Sri Lankan pilgrims near Tiruchi in South India.

"We condemn this attack and have to ask the question as to why a sudden decision had been taken to transport the group of pilgrims to the Tiruchi Airport without protection after they had been threatened.

"It is the duty of any country to provide security and assure the safety of its visitors. We see it as a duty of the Central Indian Government to take legal action against those who were involved in this crime and to take necessary action to avoid a repetition of such acts," the statement says.

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