Edited by Prasad Sanyal | Updated: September 04, 2012 16:14 IST
The same group of 184 pilgrims had earlier alleged that they were mobbed and harassed while visiting the ancient Poornimatha Church in Thanjavur on Monday. They said they had to take refuge in the church. The travel advisory was issued after that incident.
They were scheduled to return home this afternoon by a special Sri Lanka Airlines flight from Trichy. The buses were pelted with stones by protestors at Korratur, about 20 kilometres from Trichy.
The Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry said in a statement in Colombo, "The Government of Sri Lanka regrets the increasing number of instances of intimidation of Sri Lankan nationals visiting Tamil Nadu for the purposes of tourism, religious pilgrimages, sporting and cultural activities and professional training. The Government of Sri Lanka is constrained to request Sri Lankan nationals in the interest of their security to desist from undertaking visits to Tamil Nadu until further notice," the statement said.
In a statement issued this afternoon, the Ministry of External Affairs said, "We have noticed the travel advisory by Sri Lanka. The Government of India, in close consultation with state government, has taken steps and will continue to ensure safety and security of Sri Lankan dignitaries. In certain instances, visits have taken without prior information to concerned authorities."
The Lankan advisory came very soon after Tamil Nadiu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa ordered that two Sri Lankan football teams training in her state be sent back. Ms Jayalalithaa said the presence of the footballers hurt the sentiments of the Tamil people and slammed the Centre for allowing them to train and develop their skills in India.
This is one issue that seems to unite different political parties in the state. The DMK's TKS Elangovan said, "We don't approve harassing innocent pilgrims, but the government of India should understand our feeling. Tamils are left with no other option but to express their anger in such a manner. Our innocent fishermen, when they go for fishing, they are harassed. What did they do? Even they were innocent." (Watch)
Less than two weeks ago, Ms Jayalalithaa had asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to call a halt to an ongoing training programme for two Sri Lankan defence personnel at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington near Ooty. In a strongly-worded letter, she had alleged that the training had been concealed from her government, which showed scant regard for the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu.
Last month, the Chief Minister had also opposed a similar training programme for nine Sri Lankan Air Force personnel at the Tambaram Air Force Station in Chennai. In view of her stiff opposition and protests from other parties in the state including ally DMK, the Centre had been forced to move them to the Yelahanka Airforce Station in Bengaluru in order to enable them to complete their training.
Ms Jayalalithaa had expressed displeasure at them being shifted to Bengaluru, saying "instead of sending these personnel back to Sri Lanka, the Government of India exhibited excessive enthusiasm and concern for these personnel". The Tamil Nadu CM had described the Centre's move as "anti- Tamil" and said "Tamils want action against Sri Lanka for war crimes and they will not accept this" and that "Tamils even suspect whether the Centre is acting against them".
The Sri Lankan government has also said in its advisory that if anyone has a "compelling reason to visit Tamil Nadu, such a visit should take place following prior timely intimation to the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai."
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