Amid protests and political opposition to the training given to Sri Lankan defence officers at the Defence Staff Services College (DSSC) at Wellington in the Nilgiris, two officers on Monday left for Mumbai.

Wing Commander Bandara Disanayake and Major Harishchandra Hettiarachige reached Coimbatore by road with full protection and left for Mumbai by air. They are expected to proceed to Colombo from there.

Official sources said India offered to shift the two officers to another training centre in Andhra Pradesh.

But the Island nation responded that they were too junior in rank and wanted them to be retained either in Wellington or be sent back to Sri Lanka.

Tamil outfits and political parties opposed the training, holding Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa responsible for the “genocide of Tamils in the name of war against terrorism.”

The two officers came to Wellington on May 27 and their training began on June 3.

Following a series of protests, the army and the Nilgiris police conducted joint patrolling around the campus. MDMK general secretary Vaiko had called for picketing of the college on Tuesday. Since the officers had left Wellington, Mr. Vaiko told The Hindu over phone that his party would hold a meeting at Coonoor at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, instead of picketing, to condemn the Union government for its failure to respect the “sentiments of the Tamil race.”

Bandh

Meanwhile, a bandh was observed on Monday in Gudalur and Pandalur in the the Nilgiris.

The bandh call was given by various political parties and Tamil outfits against the training given to the Sri Lankan defence officers.

Over 70 activists of various political outfits were removed by the police in both the taluks for attempting to stage a road blockade. Shops and establishments remained closed and private vehicles kept off the road.

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