Vaiko Holds Demonstration Against Rajapaksa, Is Detained
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MDMK chief Vaiko was today detained along with 100 of his party cadres for defying prohibitory orders after he led a demonstration here against the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony.

A section of the protestors also set the Sri Lankan national flag on fire, besides burning portraits of Rajapaksa on Parliament Street here.

Addressing his supporters, Vaiko, whose MDMK is part of the NDA, said the presence of Rajapaksa would "pollute the sanctity" of Modi's swearing-in ceremony.

He also alleged that the Lankan president had committed genocide against Tamils in the island nation.

"We have lost our brothers and sisters. They (Sri Lankan Tamils) have been brutally murdered. What for he (Rajapaksa) should be brought in?," Vaiko said.

He also appealed to the NDA not to follow the path of the UPA government on the Sri Lankan issue.

"I hope Narendra Modiji and his government will understand the pain in our minds and the crime committed by the Sri Lankan government with the help of the UPA government," he said.

However, Vaiko clarified that he was not against the NDA government and greeted Modi, who is set to sworn in as prime minister today.

"We have not come here to oppose the swearing-in ceremony... We extend our congratulations to Modiji to take this country to great heights," he said.

Vaiko, along with his supporters, was later taken into custody for defying prohibitory orders.

The MDMK chief had earlier written a letter to Modi expressing his sadness over the invitation being extended to Rajapaksa for the event.

Recalling that no Sri Lankan head of state was invited when A B Vajpayee was sworn in as prime minister, Vaiko had pointed out that even Manmohan Singh had not invited the Sri Lankan president for his swearing in ceremony.

"They did not dare to invite Mahinda Rajapaksa to the swearing-in ceremony in 2004 and 2009," he said.

The Sri Lankan president arrived this morning for the ceremony.

Meanwhile, protests were held in different parts of Tamil Nadu against the visit of Rajapaksa.

In Chennai, the MDMK staged a simultaneous protest in line with Vaiko's announcement and raised slogans against Rajapaksa. Some images of the Sri Lankan president were also burnt by the protestors.

About 50 members of different pro-Tamil outfits who tried to stage a protest outside the Shastri Bhavan, which houses some central government offices, were held, police said.

Protests were also held in other parts of the state, including Dindigul and Mannargudi by Tamil outfits. They also criticised Narendra Modi for extending an invitation to the Sri Lankan head of state.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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