Sri Lanka issues travel warning for southern India

September 4th, 2012 - 12:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Sep 4 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government has issued a travel warning to Sri Lankans visiting southern India following a spate of incidents targeting Sri Lankan nationals, the external affairs ministry said Tuesday.

The external affairs ministry said that it was compelled to issue the travel advisory after 184 Sri Lankan pilgrims visiting a church in Tamil Nadu became the latest victims of intimidation, reported Xinhua.

As a result Sri Lankan nationals have been told by the government to desist from undertaking visits to Tamil Nadu until further notice.

The ministry said that in the event there is a compelling reason to visit Tamil Nadu, such a visit should take place following prior timely intimation to the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai.

Travel to all other states in India are safe for Sri Lanka nationals, the external affairs ministry said.

Tamil Nadu politicians have been agitating over the past several weeks against Sri Lanka over allegations of human rights abuses committed during and after the war targeting Tamils.

The Tamil Nadu government had recently also objected to India providing military training to Sri Lanka after the Indian government had insisted that it will continue with the training.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had also this week ordered a football team from a leading Sri Lankan school who were in Tamil Nadu to be sent back.

Tamil political parties in Tamil Nadu are also opposing an upcoming visit to India by
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Sri Lankan external affairs ministry Monday night said that 184 Sri Lankan pilgrims visiting a church in Tamil Nadu were mobbed forcing them to take refuge inside the church.

Sri Lanka says it regrets the increasing number of instances of intimidation of Sri Lankan nationals visiting Tamil Nadu for the purposes of tourism, religious pilgrimages, sporting and cultural activities and professional training.

These visits are a reflection of people to people contact between the polity of two countries which are bound by age-old friendly ties and traditions, the external affairs ministry said.

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