Chennai: The Sri Lankan government Friday tendered an "unqualified apology" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa for an article on its defence ministry's website.
"An article titled 'How meaningful are Jayalalitha's love letters to Narendra Modi?' appeared on our website along with a graphic portrayal of Prime Minister of India and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu," read a statement hosted on the defence ministry's website.
It said the article "which had been published without appropriate authorisation and not reflecting any official position" of the Sri Lankan government or the defence ministry has since been removed.
"We extend an unqualified apology to the prime minister of India and the chief minister of Tamil Nadu," it added.
Earlier, Jayalalithaa and other political leaders in the state came down heavily on the Sri Lankan government.
Jayalalithaa termed the visual that accompanied the article as objectionable, derogatory and disrespectful and urged the Indian government to seek an unconditional apology from the island nation.
In a letter to Modi Friday, the text of which was released to the media here, Jayalalithaa requested him to direct the external affairs ministry to summon the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and clearly express India's displeasure at the manner of hosting the article in an official website.
"The visual rendering on the homepage of the official website just above the link is highly objectionable as it depicted both the prime minister of India and the chief minister of Tamil Nadu in a very trivialised, derogatory and disrespectful manner," she said.
According to her, the visual is clearly aimed at denigrating the elected leaders of India, the world's largest democracy, and particularly a 66-year-old woman politician.
"These are affronts to India which cannot be ignored or lightly brushed aside."
Jayalalithaa said: "This reprehensible visual itself clearly indicates that these are not necessarily the views of the author but of the Sri Lankan government itself."
PMK founder S. Ramadoss and MDMK's general secretary V Gopalsamy, also known as Vaiko, condemned the views expressed in the article and the visual.
Curiously, the website carries only Modi's picture along with the apology and not that of Jayalalithaa.