In one of her strongest protests to the Centre over the presence and training of Sri Lankan defence officers in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has accused the UPA government of showing "utter disrespect to the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu".
This latest salvo comes in the wake of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, in Tamil Nadu's Nilgiris district, playing host to 2 Lankan officers - Air Vice-Marshal Jegath Julanga Diaz of the Sri Lankan Air Force and Rear Admiral S. Ranasinghe of the Sri Lankan Navy, as part of a 25 member delegation for a one day session. Sources reveal that Air Vice Marshal Diaz was involved in the operation against Tamils in Sri Lanka in 2009, after which he was posted to Germany as a Deputy Ambassador. Pro-Tamil parties and outfits have already staged protests outside the hotel where the officers are staying. More demonstrations are expected today.
Just last week, Jayalalithaa had objected to the technical training of nine Lankan airmen at the Indian Air Force Station in Tambaram, Chennai and had urged the Prime Minister to have them sent back. However, the trainees were shifted to the Yelahenka Air Force Station in Bengaluru.
"People of Tamil Nadu are frustrated and outraged by this callous and adamant attitude of the Government of India in persistently giving training to personnel belonging to the Sri Lankan Armed Forces in India," she told the Prime Minister asking him to "give suitable instructions to the Ministry of Defence to desist from giving any training to personnel belonging to the Sri Lankan Armed Forces anywhere in India and send such personnel back to Sri Lanka immediately." (Read full letter
Jayalalithaa also mentioned her Assembly resolution passed last year demanding an economic embargo on Sri Lanka till Tamils were resettled in their own places and are allowed to live with dignity and equality.
"Tamils across the world feel that the sentiments of the Tamils have been trampled on by the Government of India not only by its inaction on this resolution, but also by continuing to give preferential treatment by way of providing technical training to defence personnel belonging to Sri Lanka," she said. DMK chief M Karunanidhi has also requested the centre to send back the two Sri Lankan officers and to avoid 'hurting the sentiments of Tamils repeatedly'.
Incidentally, the DMK is in the process of holding a massive meet to re-launch the Tamil Ealam Supporters Organisation (TESO) in Chennai, next month. The move has made its ally Congress- that has just extended the ban on the LTTE by another 2 years- quite uncomfortable. Home Minister P. Chidamabaram is reported to have conveyed the Centre's disapproval of the event to DMK Chief M Karunanidhi last evening.