Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has described the visit of a parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka as a public relations (PR) stunt aimed at creating an opinion in favour of the Island nation.
Jayalalithaa on Wednesday pulled out her Anna DMK party’s nominee from the delegation of MPs who will visit Lanka from April 16 to 21.
Congress, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and DMK members will proceed with the visit, but the chief minister is seen keen on remaining opposed to Colombo’s behaviour towards its Tamil population.
Besides, she has been able to belittle the DMK, which is sending its MP though party chief M. Karunanidhi keeps on attacking Sri Lanka’s policies.
“The programme of the delegation would not allow the MPs to interact with the Tamils. Instead, the itinerary had banquets and meetings with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other leaders.”
It should be noted that friendly photographs and banquets with Rajapaksa could certainly be bad publicity for her party. The MPs will visit the northern and eastern parts of the Sri Lanka.
She pointed out that the visit does not include discussions with Rajapaksa on the rehabilitation and resettling of the Tamils in that nation.
“Since I believed that the visit of Indian MPs will be a solace to Lankan Tamils and will help us know the ground realities regarding rehabilitation works there, I deputed AIADMK MP W. Rabi Bernard,” Jayalalithaa said on Wednesday.
“But the delegation’s agenda gives an impression that the visit is just a formal one and does not give importance to interacting with people affected by the war.
“On the contrary, much importance is being given to meetings and banquets with Lankan political leaders and officials, including Rajapaksa.” She pointed out that the team lacks mediapersons, human rights activists and independent observers. “That raises many doubts about the very purpose of the visit,” she said.
“I feel the proposed visit of Indian MPs will be an eyewash akin to that undertaken a couple of years ago by Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and some other MPs.” (Gulf Today)