India has lodged an official protest with Sri Lanka over Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne’s statement in Parliament that Tiger guerillas training camps existed in Tamil Nadu.
Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam was called to the Indian External Affairs Ministry in South Block in New Delhi on Thursday to be told of the Indian Government’s displeasure.
Mr. Kariyawasam has met a Joint Secretary, a position equivalent to that of a Director General.
The official protest came just a day after an Indian Ministry of External Affairs official Vishnu Prakash denied Prime Minister Jayaratne’s claims about the existence of such camps on Indian soil.
Tamil Nadu Police Director General Letika Saran too in a statement said police had confirmed there were no LTTE elements operating in Tamil Nadu.
During the debate on the extension of the emergency, Premier Jayaratne claimed that intelligence reports had indicated that the Tiger guerillas were training in three separate locations in Tamil Nadu with the objective of assassinating Indian political leaders as well as re-establishing themselves in Sri Lanka.
However hot on the heels of the Indian denial, the Prime Minister retracted his statement saying it was based on incorrect information taken from news reports in two newspapers. A Government source said it was explained to the Indian officials that the statement had been based on incorrect media reports. “The issue is over now,” he said.