Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M Karunanidhi on Friday led a state-wide protest against the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India, accusing him of making efforts to ‘annihilate’ the Tamils in the island republic.
Wearing a black shirt, the protesters gathered under the banner of the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation, which Karunanidhi had revived some months ago, and shouted slogans against Rajapaksa, who is on a pilgrimage to Tirupati and Bodh Gaya.
Karunanidhi charged the Lankan President with attempting to not only ‘annihilate’ the Tamil population but also erase the Tamil language.
Party treasurer M K Stalin and other senior party leaders were present.
Effigies of Rajapaksa were burnt and lawyers boycotted courts in some parts of the state, protesting the visit.
Karunanidhi had said on Thursday that the Centre should realise that the island government was not keeping its promises after the Sri Lankan President had ruled out autonomy for Tamil areas.
"Now TESO is issuing a severe warning -- Rajapaksa should correct himself and the Centre should also take steps to protect Tamils," Karunanidhi had said.
Addressing the 65th Independence Day celebrations on Monday, the Lankan President had ruled out greater political autonomy for Tamils, saying ethnicity-based division was not a practical measure.