Dubbing the recent acts of violence targeting its citizens in Tamil Nadu as an attempt to tarnish its friendly ties with India, Sri Lanka has lodged a strong protest with New Delhi over the incidents of assaults on Buddhist monks.
"The ministry of external affairs has lodged strong protest with the Indian government through its high commission in New Delhi and the deputy high commission in Chennai over the incidents of assaults on Sri Lankan Buddhist monks in the state of Tamil Nadu," a Sri Lankan High Commission release said.
It said Sri Lanka regretted the recent incidents of "intimidation" of its nationals, particularly instances of violent assaults on Buddhist monks in Thanjavur and at the central railway station in Chennai.
Advising its nationals to exercise 'caution' when undertaking visits to Tamil Nadu, the release said such assaults were carried out by "extreme elements with vested interests in attempting to tarnish our friendly relations with India".
As emotions run high in Tamil Nadu in view of the growing protests over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, two Buddhist monks came under assault by activists of some fringe pro-Tamil outifts in the last three days.
A Buddhist monk, pursuing archaeological research in the country, was roughed up when he along with a group of students visited the ancient Big Temple in Thanjavur last week and their van was attacked by pro-Tamil activists. The police have arrested 12 persons in this connection.
In the other incident, a Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka, returning here after visiting Bodh Gaya in Bihar, was assaulted by some unidentified persons at the central railway station on Monday.