DMK blames Modi govt for Sri Lankan crisis, asks BJP to “come clean” on Rajapakse

The constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka has reached India, as DMK Leader MK Stalin mounted a scathing attack on the BJP for “ignoring the interests of Tamils in Sri Lanka”

By Dhairya Maheshwari

The constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka has reached the doorstep of India, as Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President MK Stalin on Saturday, October 27, mounted a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for “ignoring the interests of Tamils in Sri Lanka” and asking the Centre to come clean on their stand vis-à-vis Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“We blame the BJP for the current constituently crisis in Sri Lanka. Any action which will affect the interests of Sri Lankan Tamils and Tamil fishermen here will not be acceptable to the DMK and the BJP must not indulge in such activities. They must come clean,” MK Stalin, the leader of Opposition in Tamil Nadu Assembly, said on Saturday.

Speaking to National Herald over the phone after Stalin made his statement, DMK’s official spokesperson Saravanan Annadurai remarked that the swearing-in of Rajapakse “doesn’t bode well for the Tamils in Sri Lanka.”

“Under his regime, genocide had taken place and our party had complained against it to the National Human Rights Commission. We had demanded an impartial investigation into the matter too,” said Annadurai.

“But the BJP government at Centre has been ignoring those sentiments,” he added.

Annadurai added that circumstances in Sri Lanka were “creating a suspicion that it is the Centre’s hand playing out in Sri Lanka.”

“Because we have seen Sri Lankan President complaining about the involvement of R&AW,” said Annadurai.

“The BJP must come clean,” he added.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs has so far remain tight-lipped about the unfolding developments in Colombo, even as at least one BJP MP, Subramanian Swamy, welcomed Rajapakse assuming charge as Prime Minister.

The comments by DMK leaders come as Rajapaksa’s party gave an ultimatum to ousted PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to leave his office in Colombo by 8 AM on Sunday.

“We will give Ranil Wickremesinghe time till 8am tomorrow to leave temple trees in a dignified manner,” Sri Lankan MP Wimal Weerawansa, a former cabinet colleague of Rajapaksa during his 10-year presidency, was quoted as saying in local media on Saturday.

“If necessary we can give him a helicopter to go to where ever he wants,” added Weerawansa.

The Rajapaksa-loyalist further claimed that 21 members of Wickramasinghe’s United National Party (UNP) were ready to defect to Rajapakse, a move that would jeopardise UNP’s lead in Parliament.

Another Rajapakse loyalist, Prof G.L. Peiris, was quoted as saying that the new government would reconvene the Parliament on November 16.

“There are a number of steps that need to be taken including the appointment of a new cabinet, the appointment of new ministry secretaries and assigning seating in Parliament. That is why the 16th of November was chosen to reconvene Parliament,” Peiris was quoted as saying.

Wickremesinghe, who had been batting for increasing involvement from India in the face of opposition by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, had disputed Rajapaksa’s ascension on Friday and had called for a floor test in Parliament to prove his majority.

The news of Rajapaksa assuming the Prime Ministership is being viewed with concern among India's strategic experts and democracy activists in Colombo, who have termed Sirisena's decision as illegal.

Under Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka had turned increasingly towards China for economic support and had even leased the port of Hambantota on the island's south, much to India's discomfort. Rajapaksa is further accused of presiding over war crimes during the country's bloody civil war with the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE).

The Hindu’s Colombo correspondent reported that the meeting between Wickremesinghe and Modi during then SL PM’s visit last week precipitated the crisis that ultimately led to the current state of things. A strongly-worded statement by Wickremesinghe against President Rajapakse after his meeting with Modi took even the Indian Prime Minister by surprise, as per The Hindu report.

In September this year, Rajapakse had been on a visit to India, at the invitation of BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, to deliver a lecture at an event. During the visit, Rajapakse had also held consultations with PM Modi.

Under Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka had turned increasingly towards China for economic support and had even leased the port of Hambantota on the island’s south, much to India’s discomfort

The comments by DMK leaders come as Rajapaksa’s party gave an ultimatum to ousted PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to leave his office in Colombo by 8 AM on Sunday.

“We will give Ranil Wickremesinghe time till 8am tomorrow to leave temple trees in a dignified manner,” Sri Lankan MP Wimal Weerawansa, a former cabinet colleague of Rajapaksa during his 10-year presidency, was quoted as saying in local media on Saturday.

“If necessary we can give him a helicopter to go to where ever he wants,” added Weerawansa.

The Rajapaksa-loyalist further claimed that 21 members of Wickramasinghe’s United National Party (UNP) were ready to defect to Rajapakse, a move that would jeopardise UNP’s lead in Parliament.

Another Rajapakse loyalist, Prof GL Peiris, was quoted as saying that the new government would reconvene the Parliament on November 16.

“There are a number of steps that need to be taken including the appointment of a new cabinet, the appointment of new ministry secretaries and assigning seating in Parliament. That is why the 16th of November was chosen to reconvene Parliament,” Peiris was quoted as saying.

Wickremesinghe, who had been batting for increasing involvement from India in the face of opposition by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, had disputed Rajapaksa’s ascension on Friday, October 26, and had called for a floor test in Parliament to prove his majority.

The news of Rajapaksa assuming the Prime Ministership is being viewed with concern among India's strategic experts and democracy activists in Colombo, who have termed Sirisena's decision as illegal.

Under Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka had turned increasingly towards China for economic support and had even leased the port of Hambantota on the island's south, much to India's discomfort. Rajapaksa is further accused of presiding over war crimes during the country's bloody civil war with the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE).

The Hindu’s Colombo correspondent reported that the meeting between Wickremesinghe and Modi during then SL PM’s visit last week precipitated the crisis that ultimately led to the current state of things. A strongly-worded statement by Wickremesinghe against President Rajapakse after his meeting with Modi took even the Indian Prime Minister by surprise, as per The Hindu report.

In September this year, Rajapakse had been on a visit to India, at the invitation of BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, to deliver a lecture at an event. During the visit, Rajapakse had also held consultations with PM Modi.

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