Training of SL air force men kicks up ruckus in TN



Chennai: The reported training of Sri Lankan Air Force personnel by India today came under sharp attack from political parties in Tamil Nadu with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa describing it as an "insult to Tamil people".

Joining the chorus, DMK president M Karunanidhi and MDMK founder Vaiko cited reports about the nine-month training of nine SLAF personnel at an air base near here, and said it was "condemnable" and demanded that they be sent back.

"At a time when there are voices demanding equal status for Tamils in Sri Lanka, reports about Sri Lankan Air force personnel receiving training at the Tambaram Air force station near here has come as a shock to the Tamil people. I strongly condemn this," Jayalalithaa said.

"It is an insult to the Tamil people that the Centre is imparting military training to the Air force personnel of Sri Lanka," Jayalalithaa said, while slamming the Centre for remaining "silent" on a resolution moved by the state assembly calling for economic sanctions against Colombo till minority Tamils were ensured equal status.

She said while there were demands for action against those charged with war crimes, the fact that the personnel were being trained in India and that too in Tamil Nadu was not only improper but also against Tamil people.

"This (training) should be withdrawn immediately and they should be send back," she said in a statement.

Jayalalithaa's bitter rival Karunanidhi also said if reports in this regard were true, then the training to the military personnel was "condemnable".

"It would be appropriate that the Centre send back those who had come for training (the Sri Lankan Airforce personnel)," he told reporters here.

Vaiko said it was "atrocious" that the military personnel were being trained in Tamil Nadu.

"This is an unpardonable betrayal. They should not only be asked to return home but should not be imparted training in any part of India," he said, while warning of a protest outside the IAF base at Tambaram if the Centre did not heed his demand.

PTI