COLOMBO: Scores of Sri Lankan protesters demonstrated in the capital Colombo on Thursday against attacks on pilgrims visiting the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
An organisation of Tamil businessmen marched to the Indian High Commission (embassy) to hand over a petition condemning recent attacks on Sri Lankans, including buses being stoned by Indian mobs.
“Stop harassing our pilgrims,” the protesters chanted, demanding better protection for Sri Lankans, some of whom were visiting India to pray at Christian shrines.
Earlier this week, Sri Lanka warned its citizens against visiting Tamil Nadu after a string of assaults and the expulsion of two school football teams visiting the state for friendly games.
Sri Lankan military personnel undergoing training in Tamil Nadu had also been forced out, it said.
The cause of the attacks is unclear but many politicians in Tamil Nadu have been critical of Sri Lanka's government over its military campaign that defeated separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.
Tamil Nadu was a base for Sri Lankan Tamil rebels during the early days of their guerrilla war in the 1980s. Indian Tamils share close cultural and religious links with Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority.