Questions have been raised regarding why a video-message of Chief Minister MK Stalin for the recent 'Naam 200' event in Colombo, to commemorate 200 years of the arrival of Malaiyaha or Malayaga (hill country) Tamils in Sri Lanka, was not shown.
They were brought by the British to work in tea and rubber plantations in the country's Central province.
The event was organised by Jeevan Thondaman, who is Sri Lanka’s Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development.
A report by The Hindu stated that while it was not played in the event, it was circulated to local media by the organisers and released by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR).
Two reasons were stated by the report. While one was quoting an official source in Colombo, the other was the Sunday political column of The Morning, a Colombo-based newspaper.
According to the former, the central government in New Delhi was to clear the agenda because Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was the main guest and as the video arrived just two hours before the event, there was not enough time for approval.
The latter, however, stated that New Delhi had raised "objections" to the "last-minute" inclusion of the speech and thus organisers were not able to play it as per the "revised agenda."
The report by The Hindu further stated that Tamil Nadu's Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu was invited by the organisers and his travel was approved by Chief Minister Stalin but Thennarasu did not receive clearance to travel from the Centre till late in the night one before the day of the event and by then the ticket was cancelled as it seemed that the clearance was unlikely to come through.
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, BJP state president K Annamalai, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, AIADMK MLA Pon Jayaseelan and former BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav were among the dignitaries who addressed the event.
During President Wickremesinghe's visit to India in July 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced projects worth Rs 75 crore to commemorate the occasion.
In a thread posted on X (formerly Twitter), in February 2023, Annamalai had stated that the Indian government had constructed 45000 houses for Malayaga Tamils and handed them over in December 2018. Further, he said that work on an additional 4000 houses was completed and 10000 houses in the Central and Uva provinces were in the pipeline.
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