TN urges Modi to defer meet on SL refugees

29 January 2015 04:04 am - 7     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Asserting that the conditions in the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka are still not conducive for the refugees to return to their native land, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Wednesday said a meeting convened by the Union external affairs ministry to discuss the voluntary repatriation of refugees was premature and that it should be deferred.

The ministry had sent an invite to the state government recently to depute an officer to attend an inter-ministerial meeting on January 30 to discuss the issue of voluntary repatriation.

According to the Times of India, the chief minister had conveyed the state's concerns in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The process of voluntary repatriation could be considered only after concrete and credible measures are taken by the Sri Lankan government and the Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu are given adequate verifiable assurances and gain the requisite confidence to return to their native land," the chief minister said.
A total of 3.04 lakh refugees came to Tamil Nadu in four phases since 1983. No refugees have come to India since 2013.

While 2.12 lakh refugees have gone back by their own arrangements, with government assistance and with UNHCR assistance, there are about 1.02 lakh refugees belonging to 34,524 families still in the state. Of them, 64,924 persons belonging to 19,625 families are in 107 refugee camps.

He said the recent political developments were a cause of hope and had raised expectations of reconciliation. "However, there are still apprehensions about the presence of the Sri Lankan army in Tamil areas. The atmosphere of fear, intimidation and of possible Human Rights violations has not entirely dissipated," Panneerselvam said in the letter.

"There is a concern that Tamils could be reduced to a minority even in their own traditional habitation areas," the chief minister said, pointing to internally displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka who are still living in camps.

The positive intention of the new government in Sri Lanka to ensure rehabilitation and reconciliation were yet to be translated into action which would give confidence to the Sri Lankan Tamils living outside Sri Lanka to return, the minister said.

Credible and specific reconciliation measures must be undertaken, which alone can create adequate confidence amongst the Lankan Tamil refugees to return to their native land. "Our interactions with the refugees in Tamil Nadu and through NGOs working with refugees also reinforce this conclusion," he said.
The Sri Lankan refugees are particularly concerned about the pace and manner in which the internally displaced persons within Sri Lankan are being rehabilitated.

Panneerselvam said the autonomy and democratic rights of the minority Tamil population in the country should be fully protected and they should not be subjected to further persecution and humiliation nor their second class citizenship status perpetuated.

  Comments - 7

  • Sri Lankan Tamil Thursday, 29 January 2015 11:23 AM

    Please leave us alone at least now. We will solve our problems within our country.

    Sri Lankan Tamil Thursday, 29 January 2015 11:23 AM

    Please leave us alone at least now. We will solve our problems within our country.

    pandi Thursday, 29 January 2015 11:36 AM

    Tamil Nadu should accommodate all the Tamil Citizens of SriLanka if they are too worried about this countries progress and living style. Rather peeping and poking into other countries why not arrange some toilet facilities to their own kind who shits on the roads... What a waste of time.

    nalaka Thursday, 29 January 2015 12:03 PM

    but our North and East is far cleaner and more peasefull than TN via DM Android App

    Citizen Thursday, 29 January 2015 12:08 PM

    Understand the content first

    Henry Friday, 30 January 2015 12:40 PM

    Total population in Tamil Nadu as per 2001 statistics stands at 62,405,679. So what is 1.02 Lakhs? If you really love them kindly offer Citizenship to them.

    teni Friday, 30 January 2015 12:56 PM

    what is saying this rubbish fellows. Our Tamils can live anywhere in here. They can engage any business or jobs what ever they like as others. Keeping as own habitat areas will create problems. so need to have mixed with all races and religions. No one has own habitat areas in here.

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