TN to be informed on visits of Lankan VIPs: PM

Chennai: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today assured Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa that the state government would be informed about the visits of Sri Lankan VIPS and other dignitaries in advance.

"I am asking our authorities to bear your views in mind when they handle such visits in future and to share such information as they may have about such visits with the government of Tamil Nadu beforehand," Singh said in a letter to Jayalalithaa.

Singh`s response follows Jayalalithaa`s letter to him on March 7, where she had asked the Centre to "discourage" frequent visits of Lankan VIPs to the state as the people were "greatly exercised" over the island government`s conduct on the Tamils issue. She had also said the Sri Lankan VIPs be allowed to the state only after consulting the state.

Noting that Sri Lankan VIPs and other dignitaries come on private visits without informing the state government, she wanted such trips to be allowed only after consulting the state.

"As you are fully aware, the people of Tamil Nadu are greatly exercised over the conduct of the Sri Lankan government while dealing with Sri Lankan Tamils and their rights," the Chief Minister had said in the letter.

Citing instances in recent past when Sri Lankan VIPs and other dignitaries came on private visits to the state without informing the state government, Jayalalithaa recalled an attempt to attack Thirukumaran Natesan, brother-in-law of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in Rameswaram.

Since there was no information from the island government or Indian government, no precautionary measures could be taken, Jayalalithaa had said.