. NEW DELHI, September 5: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo Muthuvel Karunanidhi today blamed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa for attacks on visiting Sri Lankan pilgrims in the southern state early this week.
He said her action in sending back a football team from Sri Lanka had led to the incidents. Jayalalithaa s efforts to show that her government is concerned for Sri Lankan Tamils by sending back the football players has led to attacks on pilgrims, forcing Colombo to issue an advisory to its citizens against travelling to Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi said.
The DMK patriarch said sports and cultural ties should be kept away from politics. 'It is not acceptable that we Tamils, who are not opposed to any national race, attack people on pilgrimage and cultural exchange but we will continue to oppose Sri Lanka s action against humanity,' he said and appealed for calm in the interest of the Eelam Tamils.
He said actions spurred by emotions will result in 'unwanted consequences'.
'The relations between Tamils of Sri Lanka and those in the state are often described as that of an umbilical cord. In such circumstances, suddenly sending back the Sri Lankan players and attacks on pilgrims will affect bilateral relations,' he said in a statement in Chennai today.
'With lakhs of Tamils in Sri Lanka already sstruggling to survive under present circumstances, we should not create a situation that would further increase their difficulties.'
Karunanidhi s statement comes against the backdrop of 178 Lankan pilgrims on a visit to the state being targeted thrice by pro-Tamil outfits on Monday and Tuesday. The pilgrims faced two protests and an attack on three buses carrying them to the Tiruchirapalli airport on Tuesday. They returned home on Tuesday night by a special Mihin Lanka flight without completing their pilgrimage to Christian places of worship in Tamil Nadu.