(Published in Millennium Post on 6 July, 2012, retrieved from http://millenniumpost.in/NewsContent.aspx?NID=5005)
Political outfits across Tamil Nadu have condemned a training programme for Sri Lankan Air Force personnel at the Indian Air Force base at Tambaram area of Chennai.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has urged the Centre to cancel the nine-month training programme immediately, and send the military personnel back to Sri Lanka.
In a statement, she said, “While there are demands for sanction against those charged of war crimes, the fact that the Sri Lankan Air Force personnel are being trained in India is not only improper, but also against interests of Tamil people.”
Saying “I strongly condemn this”, Jayalalithaa called the training programme “an insult to Tamil people”. She also criticised the Centre for “remaining silent” on a resolution moved by the Tamil Nadu state assembly demanding economic sanctions against Sri Lanka, as well as equal status for Tamils in the island nation.
DMK chief Karunanidhi, MDMK General Secretary Vaiko and PMK chief Ramadoss have also condemned the training programme. While Karunanidhi asked that the personnel be sent back immediately, Vaiko went as far as to term it, “unforgivable treachery.” He has also stressed that the Sri Lankan Air Force should not be given training anywhere in India, even outside Tamil Nadu. Ramadoss said, “To train the very people who massacred Sri Lankan Tamils is disrespectful and upsetting to all Tamils.”
Earlier, it was reported that 9 personnel from the Sri Lankan Air Force were being given training for the past 10 days at the Indian Air Force base. Tamil media reported that they were being specially trained in wartime tactics, and methods of repairing damaged equipment. The local media also quoted sources from the police saying the Tamil Nadu Police Department came to know of this only after a delay. Sources from the Foreign Ministry have said this is routine procedure between the two countries, while media quoted sources from the Indian Air Force denying that training was even taking place!