Chennai: Slamming the Centre for being "insensitive" on the issue of training Sri Lankan defence personnel, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday asked it not to train them until Colombo takes satisfactory and credible action to end human rights violations against Tamils.
"Despite the overwhelming groundswell of public opinion in Tamil Nadu against continuing atrocities upon the civilian Tamil population in Sri Lanka by Sri Lankan Government, the Government of India has, in an act of astounding insensitivity, again invited two defence personnel to join a training programme at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, The Nilgiris, in Tamil Nadu," Jayalalithaa said.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said two Lankan officers--Wing Commander MS Bandara Dassanayke and Major CS Harishchandra Hettiarachchige--were undergoing training at Wellington, which, she said, was a matter of "grave import that greatly offends the sensitivities and sentiments of people of Tamil Nadu."
She recalled she had twice written to him earlier on this issue, conveying the deep sense of outrage on this matter.
Jayalalithaa said there was a widespread revulsion and shock among people in the state "against the genocidal pogrom and continuing human rights violations affecting the innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka," besides the continued attacks on Indian fishermen by that country`s navy.
In spite of all these vehement protests, with utter disregard for the emotions and feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu, the government has again "clandestinely" permitted two more Lankan military officers to undergo training.
On the very day that the two Sri Lankan officers commenced pre-training at Wellington, Defence Minister A K Antony was quoted as saying that responding to the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu, Centre had decided not to provide training to Lankan military personnel in Tamil Nadu, she said.
"I am amazed that the Union Defence Minister was unaware that his policy announcement was being flouted by his own Ministry. This is a very sorry commentary on the Government of India’s ambivalence and ad hocism on a serious and emotive issue that affects the people of Tamil Nadu."
Seeking immediate discharge of the officers from the course, she said the government should issue a clear policy directive not to provide training or to engage in any form of cooperation with Lankan Armed forces till satisfactory and credible action is taken by Colombo to stop human rights violations against Tamils and to stop illegal attacks on fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu.