July 15, Wellington (TN): Pro-LTTE Tamil groups in the state of Tamil Nadu in India have staged protests against the presence of two senior Sri Lankan defence officers who are in the state to participate in an Annual Interaction Session Monday at the Defence Services Staff College located at Wellington in Tamil Nadu.
The pro-LTTE protesters have gathered in front of the hotel where the Sri Lankan officers are staying and shouted slogans, the Tamil Nadu police said.
The Sri Lankan officers are in the state to take part in an event organized by the Defence Services Staff College. Reportedly 27 officers from 10 countries including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, have arrived Sunday to participate in the session organized for those who received training from the college.
The police have said that a tense situation has prevailed near the Defence Service Staff College and adequate number of police personnel has been deployed in front of the hotel.
Meanwhile, the police have arrested about 30 MDMK workers, led by their Coimbatore District secretary, Eswaran, when they staged a demonstration and squatted in front of the hotel where the Sri Lankan officers are staying, Indian media reported.
Indian government recently caved into the pressure from anti-Sri Lankan Tamil Nadu politicians and decided to send back nine Sri Lankan Air Force officers who have arrived in the Tambaram Air Force station in Chennai for a nine month-long training as part of a bilateral agreement between the two countries. Later the government decided to move the Sri Lankan personnel to a different location in Bangalore.
Pro-LTTE Tamil political parties in Tamil Nadu, including ruling AIADMK led by the Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi led DMK relentlessly protest the presence of Sri Lankan personnel in the Tamil Nadu state.
The Indian government last year cancelled a proposed programme to train 25 Sri Lankan soldiers at the Defence Service Staff College at Wellington due to protests in Tamil Nadu.
Jayalalithaa has also asked the Indian government to discourage visits of Sri Lankan VIPs to the state.
Last month Sri Lanka's Minister of Minor Export Crop Promotion Reginald Cooray, who was in Tamil Nadu to attend a program based on a corporation arrangement between the Indian and Sri Lankan sugar cane research institutions, was forced to cancel his visit and returned to the country.