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Lankan Defence Ministry tenders unqualified apology to Modi, Jayalalithaa

Facing immense outrage over an alleged derogatory article posted on Sri Lankan army’s website, the island nation’s Defence Ministry on Friday tendered unqualified apology to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

A statement posted on the Lankan Defence Ministry website, said, “We extend an unqualified apology to the Hon Prime Minister of India and Hon Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.”

It said the article titled ‘How meaningful are Jayalalitha’s love letters to Narendra Modi?’ had been published without appropriate authorisation and it has been removed from the website.

“The article which had been published without appropriate authorisation and not reflecting any official position of the Government of Sri Lanka or Ministry of Defence and Urban Development has since been removed,” the statement added.

The article had appeared on the Lankan Defence Ministry’s website along with a graphical portrayal of Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

Earlier in the day, Jayalalithaa had urged PM Modi to seek unconditional apology from Lankan government over the derogatory article that criticised Tamil Nadu government for raising the issue of attacks on Indian fishermen.

Hours after the article was published, it created a furore in India, with BJP allies PMK and MDMK seeking severing of diplomatic relations with the island nation.

The article evoked strong protests in Parliament with CPI condemning it and asking the Centre to seek an apology from Colombo.

CPI National Secretary D Raja, who gave a notice of suspension of Question Hour in Rajya Sabha over the issue, said the article carrying “nasty comments” on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the fishermen issue, was later taken off the site following protests.

“The Government of India should condemn it, register a strong protest with the Government of Sri Lanka and demand an apology from them,” he said, adding that the issue “will not die” even though the article has been removed from the site.

“How can they target an elected Chief Minister of a state who has been taking up the issue with our Union Government,” Raja said.

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