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Sri Lankan trade unions threaten to block goods from India.

Beijing, Apr. 3 (Xinhua-ANI): Trade unions manning Sri Lanka's main port have threatened to block about 2 billion U.S. dollars' worth of imports and exports to the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu after tensions flared, local reports said here on Wednesday.

The pro-government trade union coalition named the " Organization for Protecting Harbor Solidarity" has held a protest campaign before the main gate of the Colombo harbor.

The Convener of the organization Sanjaya Kumara Weligama, told local media that the protest was a severe warning to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalith Jayaram and other politicians who in recent weeks have attempted to push the Indian central government into taking a tough stance on the Sri Lankan government's human rights record.

It is estimated that around 40 percent of the 5 billion U.S. dollar trade between Sri Lanka and India pass through Tamil Nadu.

Parallel to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passing a second resolution calling on the Sri Lankan government to upgrade human rights and implement stronger reconciliation measures, south Indian politicians also launched a strong attack on Colombo.

DMK, a powerful south Indian party, pulled out of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government demanding that tough action be taken on Sri Lanka and push investigations on allegations of war crimes-an issue that has been festering since the three decade war ended in 2009.

Incensed by what they saw as lack of action by the Indian central government, citizens in Tamil Nadu took to the streets in vociferous protests.

Two Buddhist monks and 16 Sri Lankan tourists were also attacked, which provoked counter protests in Sri Lanka with groups handing over petitions to the Indian High Commission in Colombo.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram then banned Sri Lankan cricketers from playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), a lucrative extravaganza with millions of fans.

The Sri Lankan government has steadfastly refused to engage in Tamil Nadu despite worsening relations. (Xinhua-ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Apr 3, 2013
Words:339
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