( August 10, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The final chapter to what India complained was an article derogatory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jeyaram Jeyalalithaa on the Defence Ministry’s website came this week.Soon after the matter was raised in the Rajya Sabha, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj invited the new Sri Lanka High Commissioner to the External Affairs Ministry. It was done and India’s protest was once again re-ierated.
Reacting to it immediately was Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G.L.Peiris. He repeated what the MoD website said after pulling out the article in question — an unqualified apology — in a telephone call to his Indian counterpart. Well, well, for the first time the Government of Sri Lanka had extended an apology formally. Earlier retractions were from a Ministry.
That is not to say the issue is now a forgotten chapter. In the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu where emotions run high usually, protests still continue. In Chennai and suburbs, billboards and cut outs have sprung up depicting President Mahinda Rajapaksa extending an apology to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. One of them which appeared in the Mettupalayam area showed Rajapaksa with clasped hands looking at her. The Tamil words below seemed to reflect what he seemed to be saying:
“Amma; I have committed a big mistake; Forgive me; Give me life.”
The message was signed by City MGR Youth Front, City Students Front, City Anna Trade Union, District Agriculture Division, City Unity Welfare Division, Youth and Young Women Group and City Mothers Front.None other than the Chief of National Intelligence (CNI), retired Major General Kapila Hendavitharana turned up at Temple Trees last Tuesday to tell the media that an inquiry was under way over this matter. The occasion was the regular breakfast meeting President Mahinda Rajapaksa had with heads of print and electronic media institutions. - ST