Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday took exception to Sri Lankan Air Force personnel being trained at the Air Force base at Tambaram near here, and demanded that the Union government scrap the training programme.

Other political parties joined her in condemning the Centre for allowing training of Sri Lankan military personnel in the State.

In a statement here, Ms. Jayalalithaa said that at a time when the demand for restoration of the rights of displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka was finding resonance around the globe, and pressure was building on Sri Lanka to treat Tamils on a par with the Sinhalese, the training of nine members of the Sri Lankan Air Force at the Tambaram Air Force base was akin to “thrusting a spear in the hearts of people of Tamil Nadu.”

She said the demand for action against violators of international law during the conflict in Sri Lanka was getting stronger. In this backdrop, training members of that country’s Air Force was not only improper but also an act against Tamils. “The Union government should immediately withdraw this action and send back the Air Force members to Sri Lanka,” Ms. Jayalalithaa added.

The Centre, which had remained silent over the resolution adopted by the State Assembly that economic sanctions be imposed on Sri Lanka till the Tamils, who were languishing in camps in Sri Lanka, returned home and got equal rights, was insulting the Tamil people by its action, she said.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M. Karunanidhi said that if the news was true, it was condemnable and demanded that the training be immediately sent back.

Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) leader and Opposition Leader in the Assembly, Vijayakant, also criticised the Centre’s stand and demanded that the Air Force personnel from Sri Lanka be sent back. He said the question before the people was whether the Union government was with the Tamils or against them. “As it is, India’s foreign policy towards Sri Lanka is pro-Sinhalese,” he argued.