Sri Lankan leaders heckled in Lok Sabha (Lead)

August 1st, 2011 - 6:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Meira Kumar New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) AIADMK members in the Lok Sabha Monday shouted slogans to protest the presence of a Sri Lankan delegation, led by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, who were in the house as special foreign guests.

The AIADMK members led by Munisamy Thambidurai and S. Semmalai shouted “Shame, Shame” as soon as Speaker Meira Kumar began reading out a message welcoming Rajapaksa and his colleagues, including Sri Lankan ministers. They were seated in the special box to the left of her.

Almost all nine members of Tamil Nadu’s ruling party shouted slogans against the Sri Lankan government while members from other parties thumped their desks to welcome the visiting delegation.

P. Lingam, the Communist Party of India (CPI) MP from Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu, also attempted to join the protests over alleged human rights abuses against Tamils in the island nation.

He walked down the aisle towards the speaker’s podium but was stopped by his party leader Gurudas Dasgupta, who asked him to return to his seat.

A visibly irate Meira Kumar rebuked the AIADMK MPs and asked them to show courtesy to the guests.

“They have come at our invitation and you must honour and respect them,” Meira Kumar said.

The AIADMK, which swept to power in Tamil Nadu in May, has taken a stridently anti-Colombo line, accusing the Sri Lankan military of killing Tamils in thousands in the war against the Tamil Tigers.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minsiter J. Jayalalithaa has demanded that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa should be tried for war crimes.

The Sri Lankan delegation is on a five-day official visit to India on an invitation from the speaker.

The delegation later witnessed the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha. The upper house didn’t witness protests.

They later met opposition leader Sushma Swaraj. They are expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pratibha Patil.

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