Cops in dark over transit of Sri Lankan airmen
By Daniel Thimmayya - CHENNAI
24th July 2012 10:31 AM
A four-member team of Sri Lankan Air Force engineers landed here and took a connecting flight to Kolkata without detection by the intelligence wing or police, because they travelled in civilian clothes. Coming barely two weeks after Lankan Air Force trainees were ordered to move out of the IAF base at Tambaram, police have been closely monitoring the movement of all Lankan defence personnel.
According to immigration sources, the team had travelled to Chennai on Sunday from Colombo on Jet Airways flight 9W 253 that landed at 6.50 am and took the Jet Konnect flight 9W 2450 to Kolkata at 8 am. The four were identified on their passports as Probiusion (32), Jagath Chandra Kumar (25), Sarakhasameera (33) and Pinnagodage Nilantha (26) by immigration staff. “They did not identify themselves as Air Force personnel and only after we saw their records did we realise it,” said an immigration official. Sources added that the group had said they were going for a 4-month training programme on engine fitting at the Air Force station in Barrackpore, West Bengal.
State police intelligence officials were alerted to their movement, only after they left Chennai airspace. “We were not aware that they were coming,” said a police sub-inspector. Protection is accorded to Lankan military personnel because of the anti-Sinhalese sentiment exhibited by some political outfits in the State.
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