Bhopal, Sept 14: The proposed visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse to Sanchi next week for laying the foundation of a Buddhist University is mired in controversy with MDMK strongly opposing it even as the Madhya Pradesh government has stated that his schedule will not be changed.
In a letter to MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) general secretary Vaiko urged the state government to cancel the visit of Rajapakse, scheduled on Sept 21, as it will amount to "unpardonable betrayal against not only Tamils of Tamil Nadu, but also Tamils all over the world."
MDMK is opposed to the visit of the leader owing to the alleged genocide of Tamils in the island nation. However, the state government has said that the visit of Rajapakse to Sanchi will not be changed.
Vaiko further said in the letter, "MDMK will hold a black flag demonstration at Sanchi against Mahinda Rajapakse on Sept 21 through peaceful means, in a democratic manner." He also said people of Tamil Nadu were "terribly shocked" over the announcement made by the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, that on her invitation Rajapakse will participate in the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Buddhist University, being set up at world famous Sanchi, about 45 kms from here.
However, unfazed by the opposition from MDMK, the Madhya Pradesh government has decided to go ahead with the visit of Rajapakse, as scheduled. State Chief Secretary R Parsuram told PTI, "The Sri Lankan President is coming to Sanchi as scheduled and there will not be any change in the programme."
"A delegation of MDMK also met the Chief Minister on the issue and it was explained to them that the state government has extended invitation to the heads of 15 countries to take part in the event, and not just to Sri Lanka, and urged them not to hold the planned protest," the chief secretary said.
Bhutan Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigme Thinley has also confirmed participation at the event, Parsuram said. "We consider Sanchi as a symbol of peace and the university is being set up with the aim of promoting Indian and Buddhist studies and there is no other motive behind it," he added.