India `snubs` Lankan minister; Colombo urged to protest

Acting leader of the opposition John Amaratunga voiced his party`s concern over the turning back of Reginold Cooray from Coimbatore.

Updated: Jun 09, 2012, 16:02 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s main opposition UNP has asked the Mahinda Rajapaksa government to lodge a protest with India for "not allowing" a minister from the island nation to attend an event in Coimbatore.

Acting leader of the opposition John Amaratunga speaking in Parliament last night voiced his party`s concern over the turning back of Minister of Small Crop Development Reginold Cooray from Coimbatore on Thursday.

"The minister was not allowed to take part in the official event. This is most unacceptable. The government must lodge its protest with India," Amaratunga said.

Cooray had left Coimbatore on Thursday morning for Chennai without attending the function at the Sugarcane Breeding Institute after police advised him to move apparently getting wind of the planned protest in the city.

Apparently unaware that Cooray had left the city, around 50 workers of MDMK, Periyar Dravida Kazhagam, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal and other outfits gathered in front of the hotel where he had checked in the previous night on arrival and raised slogans against him and the Sri Lankan Government over the alleged war crimes against Tamils in the island nation.

Amaratunga said it was the duty of the Indian authorities to provide Cooray with adequate protection in order to discharge his duties.

He said this was the second such incident of a Sri Lanka politician being "harassed" overseas, noting that President Rajapaksa faced a similar protest in London this week and was forced to cancel a lecture.