Travel advisory against Tamil Nadu?

Lanka awaits report from its HC


by Norman Palihawadana

Colombo might issue a fresh travel advisory, against Sri Lankans visiting Tamil Nadu, due to increasing attacks targeting its citizens there.

Foreign Secretary Karunatillake Amunugama told The Island that they were closely watching the situation and had called for immediate observations from High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam, following the latest attack at the Chennai Central Railway Station yesterday morning, where a group of Lankan pilgrims, headed by a monk, returning from Buddha Gaya were set upon by three unidentified persons.

The Secretary said they expected the report from the High Commissioner yesterday evening or this morning

As in last Saturday’s incident, where the anti-Sri Lankan attackers had concentrated on targeting a monk, Ven. Pathberiye Gnanaloka Thera, yesterday too they had particularly gone after Ven. Udathalawinne Wageesa Thera, who was a leading a group of 16 pilgrims from the Gelioya area as they alighted from Tamil Nadu Express at the Chennai Central Railway Station from Delhi.

When The Island contacted Sri Lanka’s acting Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, Amir Ajwad, in this regard he said that there were no external injuries to Ven. Wageesa Thera, but they had got the police to escort the monk to a nearby hospital and had him examined. Later, the monk returned to Mahabodhi Centre at Egmore, nearby.

Ajwad said tensions were escalating, but they were getting good cooperation from the police there. The police should have no problem in arresting the attackers as the entire incident had been recorded on video.

According to the acting DHC there were 80 to 90 civilian flights between Chennai and Colombo with SriLankan alone having four daily flights.

On March 05 the Deputy High Commission was attacked by hundreds of anti-Lankan protesters, following which 400 were arrested. It was followed by the ransacking of the Mihin Air Office in the city the following day, in which 12 were arrested.

Last month a group of Catholic pilgrims from the Negombo area were forced to abandon a pilgrimage to Velankanni and forced to return under heavy security. But the windscreens of their buses were shattered.

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