Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa skipped the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because of possible security threats from the Tamil diaspora groups based in the UK, a top minister said on Thursday.
"Security concerns are of paramount importance", Keheliya Rambukwella, the Minister of Information and the government spokesman said. Rajapaksa is the current Chair of the 54-nation Commonwealth by virtue of his hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in November last year.
Pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) Tamil diaspora groups held noisy demonstrations during both the previous visits to Britain by Rajapaksa. In 2010 his address to the Oxford University union was cancelled while Tamil groups also demonstrated when he visited to attend the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations lunch in 2013.
Sri Lanka accuses the Tamil diaspora groups of triggering international backlash against Colombo over its human rights record during the last phase of the war against the LTTE in 2009.
The diaspora is also accused of funding the remnants of the LTTE to revive the group, which ran over three decades long violent campaign to carve out a separate Tamil homeland.