New Delhi: Key UPA ally DMK today demanded that the Centre should immediately scrap the training programme for Sri Lankan Army personnel in the country, arguing that such exercises create doubts in the minds of people of Tamil Nadu about the government's intentions.
A delegation of DMK MPs led by its Parliamentary Party leader T R Baalu met Defence Minister A K Antony and placed their demands before him, explaining the rationale for wanting scrapping of the training programmee.
Training of Sri Lankan Army personnel in India ran into a rough weather after they were shifted from an Air Force Station in Tambaram in Chennai following stiff opposition from political parties and other groups in Tamil Nadu.
In the memorandum submitted to Antony, the MPs said India's training to Sri Lankan personnel after the country voted in favour of a resolution at UNHRC in Geneva earlier this year against that country, creates "doubts in the minds of people of Tamil Nadu about the intentions of the government".
"To allay such fears and doubts, we urge the Government of India to immediately stop training Sri Lankan Army personnel, who are accused of perpetrating war crimes against innocent Tamils in that country," the MPs said.
The DMK lawmakers also complained that the 'no change' stand of the Centre with regard to the training programme has hurt the sentiments of Tamils across the globe. The issue has also triggered a letter war in the state with Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and her bete noire and DMK chief M Karunanidhi dashing off letters frequently to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking scrapping of the training exercise.
Noting that the United Nations Secretary General's Panel of Experts held the Sri Lankan Forces responsible for horrific war crimes and large-scale human rights violations, the DMK members said, "In this context, imparting training to the Sri Lankan Army can be seen as endorsing the genocide committed against Tamils in Sri Lanka."
The memorandum also referred to recent TESO conference on "Protection of Right to Life and Livelihood of Eelam Tamils" in Chennai under DMK chief M Karunanidhi's leadership, which had passed a resolution opposing imparting training to the Sri Lankan Army men in India.