Rajapaksa prays at Tirumala amid Tamil protests
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday prayed at the Lord Venkateswara temple at Tirumala amid protests by Tamil groups opposed to him.
Tirupati: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday prayed at the Lord Venkateswara temple at Tirumala amid protests by Tamil groups opposed to him.
Police arrested about 100 activists of the MDMK in the temple town for trying to obstruct the president`s convoy.
The protesters showed black flags and raised slogans like `Rajapaksa, Down Down!` A few journalists from Tamil Nadu were also arrested and allegedly manhandled by police.
Rajapaksa took part in the `Suprabatham seva`, a pre-dawn ritual at the hill shrine. He spent an hour in the temple taking part in the rituals by a group of priests.
He visited the temple to seek divine blessings ahead of next month`s presidential elections. He is running for a third term.
The priests and temple authorities presented him a sacred silk cloth, `prasadam` and holy water. Rajapaksa said he prayed for the well being of people of all sections and regions.
As Rajapaksa was returning after the prayers, MDMK activists tried to obstruct his convoy, leading to tension near Lepakshi circle. Police used batons to control the situation.
The protest was organized to condemn Rajapaksa`s allegedly anti-Tamil policies. The activists were arrested for violating orders banning protests at Tirumala. They were later released.
Police also took into preventive custody over 100 activists of various Tamil groups trying to reach the temple town from neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
The arrests were made at different points on the border between Chittoor district and Tamil Nadu.