Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today defended her action of sending back home Lankan football players, indicating it was a symbolic gesture to express opposition to the delay in Tamils getting justice but said her government is "determined" to ensure that Sinhalese visiting the state as tourists and pilgrims don't face any difficulty.
"I banned Sri Lankan football players from being trained in Tamil Nadu to express the state's opposition and sentiments as Lankan Tamils have not received justice so far," she said claiming this had drawn her praise from Tamils the world over.
"However, my government is determined and working to ensure Sinhalese visiting the state as tourists and pilgrims do not face any difficulty," she said at a function in Tamil Nadu.
On Sept 3, over 150 Sri lankan pilgrims on a visit to a holy shrine faced protests from local pro-Tamil outfits who allegedly attacked their convoy, forcing their early return, a day after Jayalalithaa had ordered sending back home a Lankan football team.
Her action came against the backdrop of her consistent opposition to India training Lankan military personnel, saying that nation's forces had committed war crimes against Tamils.
Jayalalithaa's arch rival DMK chief M Karunanidhi had flayed her action, saying his party was not averse to India's cultural and sporting ties with Sri Lanka, but to training of Lankan defence personnel by India.
Taking a dig at Karunanidhi, she said while he had not questioned Centre on matters that were against Tamils, he was, however, slamming her action aimed at Tamils' welfare.
"When Tamils were being killed in Lanka (during Army-LTTE war),Centre acted in favour of that government and its army.It has not strongly opposed Indian fishermen being attacked by Lankan Navy and he who is unable to question the Centre for these is flaying my efforts aimed at Lankan Tamils," she said without naming Karunanidhi.
She recalled her efforts, such as the state assembly passing a resolution demanding that India lead other countries to impose economic sanctions on Colombo for ensuring equal status to Tamils besides asking Centre not to train Lankan military personnel in India.
Jayalalithaa was speaking at a function here to mark the launch of various government initiatives.(PTI)