Envoy returns expressing deep concern over Sri Lanka bloodshed

COLOMBO, Nov 24, 2006 (AFP) – A top Indian envoy left for home Friday after conveying New Delhi’s “deep concern” over escalating violence in Sri Lanka, as government troops and Tamil Tigers were locked in long-range attacks.

Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon left for New Delhi following meetings with top leaders, including President Mahinda Rajapakse on Thursday.

Menon declined to give details of his discussions, but said he was returning to New Delhi via the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu where at least 15,000 Sri Lankans have sought refugee this year from the violence at home.

His visit follows a letter the Indian premier sent Tamil Nadu’s chief minister M. Karunanidhi assuring that New Delhi’s “deep concern and anguish” at the recent upsurge in violence in Sri Lanka would be conveyed to Colombo.

The 60 million Tamils in Tamil Nadu share close cultural and religious links with Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil community.

India was also sending 7,000 tonnes of food to tens of thousands of Tamil civilians virtually trapped in Sri Lanka’s northern peninsula of Jaffna because of ongoing fighting, diplomats said.

Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry said they also discussed arrangements for Rajapakse’s visi