Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin confirmed here on Friday that the objectionable article against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa is no longer on the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry site. "The moment we heard about this, the government of India has acted with alacrity, we immediately activated diplomatic channels, our high commission in Sri Lanka took this matter up immediately and we were assured that action would be taken forthwith. Subsequently I can now confirm to you that action has been taken and that objectionable article is no longer on that website," said Akbaruddin.
The article had reportedly criticised Jayalalithaa for writing frequently to Prime Minister Modi on issues related to Sri Lanka and the fishermen's issue. Earlier today, the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry had tendered an unqualified apology to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jayalalithaa over it.
The apology from Colombo came after political parties in Tamil Nadu set aside their differences on Friday to strongly back Jayalalithaa after the website carried an article critical of her, with an accompanying graphic image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A political furor arose hours after the article was published. The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Tamil outfits in various parts of Tamil Nadu staged protests, one was also held today outside Sri Lankan deputy High Commission.
NDA allies called on India to severe ties with Sri Lanka despite the offending article being removed from the website. Jayalalithaa urged Modi to demand an unconditional apology from the Sri Lankan government over the issue. The Tamil Nadu BJP unit said publishing of such a derogatory article in an official website was not acceptable.
The party's state general secretary, Vanathy Srinivasan, said New Delhi should summon the Sri Lankan envoy and convey its objections to the article in the strongest possible manner. The opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) also criticized Colombo, saying that the article mocking Jayalalithaa's writing of letters to Prime Minister Modi on issues involving Sri Lanka, should be seen as "cheap".