A public interest litigation has been filed in the Madras High Court bench in Madurai, Tamil Nadu to declare the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam as a persona non grata (an unwelcome person) as per Article 9 of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations, 1961, for allegedly transgressing his limits as a foreign diplomat and issuing ‘provocative’ statements.
The petitioner, L. Lena Kumar, a social activist and the proprietor of Yathumahi Publications based in Tirunelveli district, alleged in his petition that Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam had issued “seditious, inflammatory and provocative statements” which affected the integrity, sovereignty and secular nature of India.
Mr.Kumar stated in his petition that Mr.Kariyawasam had issued a statement on March 19, 2013 claiming that the Sinhalese were descendants of Odiyas and Bengalis and, therefore, they deserve Indian support.
The statement, reported in media, angered the Tamils, whose sentiments were hurt in view of the alleged mass killing of the Tamils in Sri Lanka during the war.
The petitioner claimed that the statement was made intending to “divide and bring fraction in India on the basis of race, ethnicity and region”.
The Sri Lankan High Commissioner was bound by the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, but Mr.Kariyawasam had transgressed his limits as a foreign diplomat, Mr.Kumar argued.
“The manner in which the Indian government dealt with the “seditious and provocative” statements of the Sri Lankan High Commissioner is highly disturbing. If it is left unchecked, the intervention of foreign diplomats in India’s internal affairs may become inevitable,” the petitioner contended.
The petitioner claimed that he had submitted a representation to the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister on April 25 this year to declare Mr.Kariyawasam a persona non grata, but he got no reply.
Therefore, he filed the public interest litigation.
Petitioner said High Commissioner had issued “seditious, inflammatory and provocative statements”(The Hindu)