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Sri Lankan MP on pilgrimage faces protests; returns to Chennai

Press Trust of India 

A Sri Lankan MP on a pilgrimage to a temple in Nagapattinam district was forced to cut short his visit and leave for Chennai after he faced protests by activists of pro-Eelam outfits and political parties.

As Karunaratne Jayasurya, accompanied by his wife and son, reached Tiruchirappalli tonight escorted by police after protests at the temple town of Thirukkadaiyur, about 120 km from here, his car was stoned by five MDMK workers, police said.

However, there was no damage to the vehicle, they said.

Later, when he arrived at a hotel here, a group of Naam Tamizhar Iyyakkam activists gheraoed his car.

Police said they arrested five MDMK workers and 11 Naam Tamizhar Iyyakkam activists in connection with the protests.

As the hotel authorities reportedly declined to accommodate him apprehending trouble, he left Tiruchirappalli for Chennai by a flight around 9 pm, police said.

Jayasurya had arrived at Thirukkadaiyur last night to offer worship at the famous Lord Amirthakadeswara temple and was staying in a hotel there.

On coming to know about his presence, workers of DMK, BJP, MDMK, PMK, VCK, Naam Thamizhar Iyakkam and other outfits gathered near the hotel and shouted slogans against the United National Party MP and demanded that he go back immediately.

He was later escorted by police to Tiruchirappalli to take a flight to Colombo by this evening. However, he missed the flight since he arrived late, police said.

The incident came a day after Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and DMK President M Karunanidhi condemned the alleged cold blooded killing of slain LTTE chief V Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son and demanded that India support the Sri Lanka-specific resolution on alleged human rights abuses at the UNHRC meet in Geneva next month.

Jayalalithaa has called off the 20th Asian Athletics Championships scheduled to be held in Chennai in July, saying Lankan players have no place in the state in view of "sentiments" of the people in Tamil Nadu against island government over the Lankan Tamils issue.

In September 2012, a group of 178 Sri Lankan pilgrims to Vailankanni in Nagapattinam district had to return without offering worship due to protests by pro-Eelam activists.

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First Published: Thu, February 21 2013. 23:30 IST