Protest against Lankans in Tamil Nadu

A tense situation prevailed near the Defence Service Staff College at Wellington in Tamil Nadu on Sunday with some pro-Tamil outfits protesting the arrival of two senior defence officers from Sri Lanka to participate in an Annual Interaction Session tomorrow, the police said.

Workers of some pro-Tamil outfits raised slogans against the presence of the Lankan officers, police said.

Adequate number of police personnel have been deployed in front of the hotel where the officials are said to be staying, they added.

27 officers from 10 countries, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, arrived this afternoon to participate in the session organised for those who received training from the college, about 20 km from Udhagamandalam in Nilgiris district.

Political parties in Tamil Nadu, including ruling AIADMK and its rival DMK, had recently protested training being imparted to Sri Lankan air force personnel at an IAF station near Chennai, following which the Centre shifted them to Bangalore.

Chief Minister Jayalalitha had slammed the Centre’s move to transfer them to Bangalore insisting they should not be trained anywhere in India.

“Tamils will not accept the training being imparted in Bangalore. I insist that the Sri Lankan personnel should not be trained anywhere in India and the Centre should take steps for their return to Sri Lanka,” she had demanded.

In March, Jayalalitha had written to the Centre to provide prior information about the visit of officials or dignitaries from the island nation to Tamil Nadu.

She had also asked the Centre to “discourage” frequent visits of Sri Lankan VIPs to the state as the people were “greatly exercised” over the island government’s conduct on the Tamil issue.

Meanwhile, about 30 MDMK workers, led by their Coimbatore District secretary, Eswaran, were arrested when they staged a demonstration and squatted in front of the hotel where the Sri Lankan officers are staying, police said.

While traffic was blocked for nearly half an hour, there were pitched arguments between the workers and police, resulting in tense moments for a while, they added.

Senior police officials declined to comment whether they had prior information about the visit of the officers. (PTI)