PRESS RELEASE

Aug 1, 2014 - of Sri Lanka, has prominently hosted just under its homepage banner a link ... tries to mischievously create fissures within India's federal polity.
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Press Release No. 411

Date: 01.08.2014

PRESS RELEASE Text of the D.O. letter dated 1.8.2014 addressed by Selvi J Jayalalithaa, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India is reproduced below: “It has been brought to my notice that the official website

of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Government of Sri Lanka, has prominently hosted just under its homepage banner a link to an article entitled “How meaningful are Jayalalitha’s love letters to Narendra Modi?” The visual rendering on the homepage of the official website just above the link is highly objectionable as it depicted both the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in a very trivialized, derogatory and disrespectful manner. The article itself contained certain unwarranted and unfounded comments about the very valid and serious issues that I have consistently been raising relating to the repeated instances of harassment by the Sri Lankan Navy of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu fishing in their traditional waters. This is a livelihood issue for lakhs of fishermen families in my State whose cause I have been espousing and will continue to espouse strongly. I have also clearly explained the legal basis on which the Government of Tamil Nadu refuses to recognize the unlawful ceding of Katchatheevu under the Indo-Sri Lanka agreements of 1974 and 1976 and the issue pertaining to the alignment of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). The article analysis also ascribes motives to me without any basis at all, including the insinuation that I demanded the release of boats which are crucial to the survival of fishermen families, because “some of these may belong to her or her supporters”. This is a vile, distasteful and baseless allegation. The article also tries to mischievously create fissures within India’s federal polity where none exist through statements like: “Obviously she is attempting to dent the popularity of the Indian Prime Minister…….”. While as a public political figure in a vibrant democracy with full freedom of press, I have faced criticism and comment from

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many sources, this blatant attempt to ridicule, and trivialize the untiring efforts made by a democratically elected leader to resolve an important livelihood issue of the fishermen of Tamil Nadu by hosting a highly objectionable article prominently on the official website of an important Ministry of a neighbouring country, is completely unacceptable. The added visual image on the website is clearly aimed at denigrating the elected leaders of India, the world’s largest democracy, and particularly a 66 year old woman political leader of many years standing. These are affronts to India which cannot be ignored or lightly brushed aside. More importantly, although there was a disclaimer on the website stating that the Ministry of Defence bears no responsibility for the ideas and opinion expressed by the numerous contributors to the “Opinion Page” of the website, the visual itself depicting the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu is not part of the article written by a journalist but a visual deliberately and mischievously put up on the official website itself. This reprehensible visual itself clearly indicates that these are not necessarily the views of the author but of the Sri Lankan Government itself. I understand that, following the public outcry in Tamil Nadu, the article and the visual have both been surreptitiously removed from the official website. However, the damage has already been done. I therefore request you to immediately direct the Ministry of External Affairs to summon the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and clearly express India’s displeasure at the manner in which the article was hosted on the official website of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Government of Sri Lanka, and seek an unconditional apology from the Government of Sri Lanka.“

******* Issued by: Director of Information and