Sri Lankan gov't condemns attacks on Buddhist priests in India

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Following a spate of attacks on Sri Lankans travelling in south India, the Sri Lankan government on Tuesday condemned the incidents and called on travellers to be cautious.

The government of Sri Lanka regrets the recent incidents of intimidation of Sri Lankan nationals, particularly the instances of violent assaults against Buddhist Monks in Thanjavur and at the Central Chennai Railway Station of India, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Ministry of External Affairs has lodged strong protests with the Indian government through its High Commission in New Delhi and the Deputy High Commission in Chennai over the incidents of assaults on Sri Lankan Buddhist monks in the State of Tamil Nadu on Saturday and Monday.

"The government of Sri Lanka whilst condemning such assaults carried out by extreme elements with vested interests in attempting to tarnish our friendly relations with India, is constrained to request Sri Lankan nationals to exercise caution when undertaking visits to the State of Tamil Nadu in India," it said.

In the event of urgent visits, Sri Lankan nationals were requested by the ministry to keep the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai informed well in advance.

In addition to the attacks on the priests, a group of 16 tourists were also attacked in Chennai on Monday. Over a hundred students were also arrested on the same day for staging anti-Sri Lanka protests in Chennai.

Tension has been running high in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu ahead of the U.S. tabling a resolution on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday.

Tamil Nadu has been highly critical of the Sri Lankan government, which it has accused of undermining rights of the Tamil minority in the island. Pressure is also being exerted by top Tamil Nadu politicians on the Indian central government to vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC.

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