Sri Lankan opposition criticises Manmohan Singh

Colombo, Dec 2: Sri Lanka’s main opposition Monday raised objections to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for reportedly accepting an invitation to visit the island nation’s Northern Province, Xinhua reported.

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran had invited Manmohan Singh to visit the minority Tamil dominated North, which was devastated by 30 years of war between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lanka Army.

Opposition United National Party (UNP) legislator John Amaratunga said that the Indian prime minister seems to have accepted the invitation while ignoring an earlier invitation extended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to attend a recent Commonwealth summit in Colombo.

Amaratunga told parliament, the UNP will strongly object to the Indian prime minister visiting Sri Lanka without receiving an invitation from the president.

He alleged that by accepting an invitation from the Northern chief minister, India seems to be attempting to divide Sri Lanka and give recognition to a separate state. “The man who said he cannot come for the Commonwealth summit is now coming to tour Jaffna. I cannot understand this. We will strongly object to this.”

Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Saturday said Manmohan Singh will visit Jaffna and hold talks with the recently-elected Northern Province chief minister.

Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) later said that Chidambaram had made clear India’s position on Sri Lanka at that conference and the TNA would now seek a meeting with the Indian government to discuss the position taken on Sri Lanka.