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NDA partner Vaiko held for protest against invite to Lankan president

New Delhi, May 26 (PTI): MDMK chief Vaiko was detained on Monday for defying prohibitory orders and holding a demonstration here against the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony.

Addressing his supporters at Jantar Mantar, Vaiko, whose Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is part of the Bharatiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance, said the presence of Rajapaksa would ”pollute the sanctity” of Modi's swearing in ceremony.

He also alleged that the Lankan President has committed genocide against the Tamils in the island nation.

However, Vaiko said that he was not against the NDA government and greeted Modi, who is set to sworn in as Prime Minister on Monday.

Vaiko was later taken into custody for defying prohibitory orders.

The MDMK chief is opposed to the invitation extended to the Sri Lankan President and had asked the Prime Minister-designate as well as BJP President Rajnath Singh to reconsider the decision.

Vaiko had earlier written a letter to Modi expressing his sadness over the invitation being extended to Rajapaksa for the event.

Recalling that no Sri Lankan Head of State was invited when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sworn in as Prime Minister, Vaiko had pointed out that even Manmohan Singh had not invited the Sri Lankan President for his swearing in ceremony.

”They did not dare to invite Mahinda Rajapaksa to the swearing in ceremony in 2004 and 2009,” he had said.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and DMK President M Karunanidhi have also opposed the invite to Rajapaksa.

The Sri Lankan President arrived this morning for the ceremony.

Meanwhile, protests were held in different parts of Tamil Nadu against the visit of Rajapaksa.

In Chennai, MDMK staged a simultaneous protest in line with Vaiko's announcement and raised slogans against Rajapakse. Some images of the Sri Lankan President were also burnt by protestors.

About 50 members of some different pro-Tamil outfits who tried to stage a protest outside Shastri Bhavan, which houses some Central government offices, were held, police said.

Protests were also held in other parts of the state, including Dindigul and Mannargudi by Tamil outfits. They also criticised Narendra Modi for extending an invitation to the Sri Lankan leader.