Jaya protests, govt sends Lankan airmen to Bangalore
Bowing to pressure from Tamil parties including ally DMK, the central government today shifted Sri Lankan Air Force personnel undergoing training from Tamil Nadu to Bangalore for further training.Updated: Jul 06, 2012 23:09 IST
Bowing to pressure from Tamil parties including ally DMK, the central government on Friday shifted Sri Lankan Air Force personnel undergoing training from Tamil Nadu to Bangalore for further training.
However, government sources said the Sri Lankan airmen at Tambaram have finished their current phase of training and have been sent to appropriate alternative destination for the next phase.
The training of the Lankan personnel by India came in the line of fire from political parties with chief minister J Jayalalithaa describing it as an "insult to Tamil people" and others including her bitter rival, DMK, also joining in the chorus.
"All Sri Lankan trainees are being sent off today from this Station as per instruction of the ministry of defence," a brief defence ministry statement said.
The press release issued by defence ministry's Public Relations wing in Chennai had created confusion over the status of these cadets but IAF sources later clarified that they were not being sent back to Sri Lanka but to another training institution in Bangalore.
Bangalore is the major hub of IAF training and houses its Training Command and several institutions for airmen.
"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 had said in a strongly-worded statement on Thursday.
DMK president M Karunanidhi and MDMK founder Vaiko said it was "condemnable" and demanded that they be sent back.