Under huge pressure from political parties in Tamil Nadu, the Indian government has decided to end the training of Sri Lankan personnel at the Tambaram Air force Station near Chennai. The nine Sri Lankans have been moved to the Yalahanka base in Bangalore. Their nine month training is meant to help them learn ground handling of transport air craft.

As a way of justifying their move from Chennai, the Indian government says that this phase of the Sri Lankans’ training is complete; the new one will begin in Bangalore.

The Tamil Nadu chief minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa had taken offense to the training being offered in her state. “This is anti-Tamil and inappropriate at a time when the whole world is seeking action against Sri Lanka for violations in the war.” Other parties – including the DMK, a key member of the coalition at the centre – had joined her.

The alleged discrimination against Tamils in Sri Lanka by the majority Sinhalese is an emotional issue in Tamil Nadu. Last year, parties together pressured the centre to vote against Sri Lanka at a UN Human Rights session. The resolution adopted there asked Sri Lanka to extensively investigate atrocities and human rights violations in the last few months of the country’s civil war in 2009.

Any form of military help to Sri Lanka has always triggered strong opposition in Tamil Nadu. A few years ago, political parties in the state opposed the supply of radars to the country. Last year, a training programme for 25 Sri Lankan soldiers at the Defence Service Staff College at Wellington near Ooty was scrapped following political pressure. (NDTV).

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