October 2, 2009 / 1:46 PM / 10 years ago

Suspected Tamils breach Sri Lankan mission in Delhi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - About 10 suspected Indian Tamil protesters broke into the compound of the Sri Lankan diplomatic mission in New Delhi on Friday, police said.

No-one was injured and the intruders left before police arrived. The Sri Lankan High Commission was closed for a public holiday.

“Some persons entered the compound. Before the police came they left the place,” Rajan Bhagat, a spokesman for New Delhi police said by phone, adding police did not know what the protest was about.

India is home to around 60 million ethnic Tamils who have historical and cultural links with the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.

The fate of Sri Lanka’s Tamils has often sparked protests in India, including from sympathisers of Tamil separatist militants who were defeated by Sri Lanka’s military earlier this year.

More than 260,000 Tamils live in camps in northern Sri Lanka, displaced during the 25-year war between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Colombo is under pressure from the West to resettle the displaced, but Sri Lanka says it must first weed out potentially thousands of militants among them.

There were no staff in the High Commission at the time of the intrusion.

“It is difficult to confirm who they were, but we believe they are from an anti-Sri Lankan government lobby group based in Tamil Nadu,” Sugeeswera Gunaratne, first secretary at the mission, said by telephone.

He did not want to comment on whether the intruders were Tamil Tiger sympathisers.

Ministry for External Affairs said security had been beefed up around the compound and that action would be taken against the protesters.

Editing by Dean Yates

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