| GEO World|
| Vaiko arrested, Indian Tamils besiege Sri Lanka diplomatic office|
| Updated at: 0432 PST, Friday, October 24, 2008|
COLOMBO: Anger in southern India at Sri Lanka's offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels flared on Thursday when protesters besieged a Sri Lankan diplomatic mission, the island nation's foreign ministry said.
Indian authorities also arrested V. Gopalswamy, a longtime politician better known as Vaiko, for years one of the most vocal backers of Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) separatists, police officials said.
The incidents came as anger grew in Tamil Nadu, home to the majority of the world's 77 million Tamils and epicentre of pre-election pressure on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's ruling coalition to stop Sri Lanka's war.
Sri Lanka's intensifying offensive against the LTTE, which it has fought since 1983 in one of Asia's longest insurgencies, since last week has roiled India's political scene and prompted heated diplomatic exchanges between the two neighbours.
"An unruly group had attempted to forcibly enter the premises of the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commissioner's office," Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"In their attempt to break in, they had damaged the mission's security post." A member of the diplomatic staff was injured by thrown stones but police stopped the protesters, it added.
Police sources speaking on condition of anonymity said Vaiko was arrested on charges of making seditious statements, after threatening to take up arms in support of the LTTE at a rally where he accused India's government of backing Sri Lanka's army.
"We are second to none in supporting India's sovereignty but if India gives arms to Sri Lanka in name of safeguarding its sovereignty we cant keep quiet," Vaiko said before his arrest.