Tamil Nadu Minister against training for Lankans

Differing with his ministerial colleague and Union Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju, Tamil Nadu Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan added his voice to the growing clamour against training of Sri Lankan military personnel in India. He demanded that the two officers now in the country be sent back immediately.

Mr. Vasan said his party unit in the State was in full agreement with other political parties on this issue and would soon meet Defence Minister A.K. Antony to press the demand.

He is the first Congress Minister to speak against his ministerial colleague Mr. Raju, who had justified the training on the ground that Sri Lanka was a friendly country.

“The Congress party in the State is firm that Sri Lankan Army officials should not be given training in the country and the two officials who are already being trained in the Defence Staff Services College, Wellington, should be sent back immediately,” he told reporters in Chennai.

Almost all political parties have expressed their objection to the training given to the two Sri Lankan officials. DMK president M. Karunanidhi, a constituent of the Congress-led UPA has urged the Centre to send back the officials, and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to halt the training going on in Wellington.

Asked about Mr. Raju’s clarification, Mr. Vasan said the Congress would see to it that such training did not take place in the future.

“I have already discussed the issue with Mr. Antony and will meet him again to find a permanent solution to the issue,” he stressed.

Mr. Vasan accused that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was crippling the functioning of Parliament with ulterior political motive on the alleged coal scam, saying it was Chief Ministers of the BJP-ruled states who were opposed to auctioning of coal blocks in the beginning.

“When a new system was introduced, they again raised their objection. They have no motive other than opposing the Congress government. Parliament is not a place for creating trouble, but a forum for discussing people’s issues. The attitude of the BJP is anti-people and anti-development,” he alleged.

He also criticised Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s remark that malnutrition in his State was due to women, especially young girls, becoming “more beauty-conscious” and watching their weight. “No one will agree with his views. It was unbecoming of a responsible Chief Minister to make such a statement,” he said. (The Hindu)