Playback singer Unnikrishnan has issued a lengthy statement clarifying on the unexpected circumstances which led him getting a shawl from Douglas Devananda, a Minister in the cabinet of Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse, viewed by many in Tamil Nadu as the ‘chief villain’ who orchestrated the calculated campaign to decimate the Sri Lankan Tamils during his anti-LTTE offensive more than three years back.
“I have been in the field of playback singing for more than the past decades and have conducted concerts in many countries. I shall always remember the fact that Tamils based in Jaffna, Sri Lanka were instrumental in making me travel upto far away places such as London, England and Australia to conduct musical concerts. I’m aware of their love and affection for me and I reciprocate the same with my respect.
“One such invitation took me to Jaffna recently to perform at a concert arranged by a local body namedSwanubhava. Popular carnatic music exponent T.M. Krishna had arranged for the concert as part of the celebrations at the Nalloor Kandaswamy Temple at Jaffna. I was also scheduled to give a lecture on Indian music to the students at the nearby Ramanathan Music Academy.
“Even as the concert was proceeding smoothly, Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda arrived at the venue uninvited and presented a shawl to me. I’m aware as to how bad Tamils would have felt when I received the shawl. I’d like to clarify that it was a totally unexpected development as the Minister made an unscheduled visit and did something which I couldn’t control in front of a huge crowd and the media.
“I tender my sincere apologies for the unexpected incident and consider it as a ‘black dot’ in my musical sojourn. I went to Jaffna only on an assurance from the Indian Cultural Commission that no untoward incident might happen. Still, what mentioned above had taken place. I’d like to assure that I’d ensure that no such thing happens in future; I also request the Tamils all over the world to continue to patronize me!” the statement said.