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Lanka airmen training: 'DMK did not exert pressure on Centre'

July 13, 2012 17:26 IST
Renewing her demand that Sri Lankan airmen should not be trained anywhere in India, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Friday lambasted her arch rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President M Karunanidhi for not "exerting pressure" on the Centre on the issue despite being a key ally of the United Progressive Alliance.

"If Karunanidhi who claims himself to be the leader of Tamils has any real concern for the welfare of Tamils, he should have pressurised the central government to send back the Sri Lankan Airmen immediately," she said in a release in Chennai.

But it was no surprise that Karunanidhi "who possesses the skill of coercing the Centre whenever he or his family members were affected" did not do so for the welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils, she said.

She said Karunanidhi gave a vague answer when he was asked by reporters about his response if the Sri Lankan personnel were imparted training in some other part of the country. She recalled her stiff opposition and that of the "Tamil people" to the training programme for eight Sri Lankan Air Force personnel at an Indian Air Force base here which prompted the government to shift them to Bengaluru.

Jayalalithaa said she had then demanded that they should not be trained on Indian soil at all.

Attacking the Centre, she accused it of submitting itself to the Sri Lankan government. "It is regrettable that instead of acting like a tiger, the mighty Indian government is behaving like a mouse before the tiny Sri Lankan government. I once again insist that the Sri Lankan personnel be sent back immediately," she said.

Besides Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi, leaders of various other parties in the state have opposed the training of Sri Lankan airmen on the ground that it was an "insult" to the Tamils in view of allegations of war crimes faced by Colombo.


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