Thousands protest against Trichy attack
India urged to ensure safety of pilgrims
By Binoy Suriyaarachchi and Ariyaratne Ganegoda
More than 3,000 protesters, most of them of Indian origin, staged a massive protest opposite the Indian High Commission in Colombo yesterday, condemning the attack against Sri Lankan pilgrims in Tamil Nadu early this week.
Various organizations representing traders in Colombo condemned the attack as malicious and urged the Tamil Nadu Government to take action against the attackers and to prevent such attacks in the future.
As the protesters from all leading business establishments in Pettah were taking part in the protest, the trading activities came to a standstill with the closure of the shops.
The wholesale traders in Pettah, Sea Street and Old Moor Street put up shutters around 1.00 p.m., yesterday, to register their protests against the attack carried out on a group of Sri Lankan pilgrims returning from Velankanni Church, India.
A memorandum was also handed over to the Indian High Commissioner by the protesters. President of the Sri Lanka Jewellers’ Association, K. Ramakrishna said they have urged the Indian Government and the Tamil Nadu State Government, to ensure the safety of the Lankans travelling to India in general and to Tamil Nadu in particular.
Key business leaders of Indian origin in Petah and Fort, such as P. Sundaralingam, R. Ashok Kumar, S.K. Doraisami, T. Sivakumar and Radha Krishnan had also met the Indian envoy when the memorandum was handed over to him.
The protesters carried the caricatures of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram and DMK Leader M. Karunanidhi, condemning their statements and actions against the Government of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankans.
Police security was tightened at the High Commission premises when the protesters procession arrived there.
The traders signed a petition against the attack and assembled near the Taj Samudra Hotel at Galle Face to walk over to the High Commission. However, they were stopped by the police and only seven of them were allowed to proceed to the High Commission office to handover the petition. Their petition was received by High Commissioner, Ashok K. Kantha.
After handing over the petition the traders dispersed amicably.
Earlier, members of the Colombo Municipal Council too were to accompany the wholesale traders. But, the traders wanted this protest to be free from political involvement, M.M.C K.T. Gurusamy said.