Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday informed parliament that 9,509 Sri Lankan refugees who were in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu had returned to the country since 2010 and that another 3,815 people had expressed their willingness to return as well.
He told parliament that the government had taken every step possible to promote reconciliation among the communities and all those who left the country during the war have been invited to return to the country.
In response to a question raised by TNA MP Charles Nirmalanadan regarding the action taken by the government to bring back Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu, the Premier confirmed that the Indian government had agreed to provide naval assistance to transport the people and their belongings to Sri Lanka.
"The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka has been providing us with information on the refugees sheltered in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu. Steps have been taken to provide birth certificates, passports and other documents to children born inside refugees camps," he said.
MP Nirmalanadan said 65, 000 persons belonging to 20, 000 families were sheltered in 110 refugee camps in Tamil Nadu and that another 35, 000 persons were living outside these camps. He wanted to know whether the government would provide financial assistance to the people who were returning to the country.
The Prime Minister said the government had already provided assistance to those returned and had helped them to reintegrate into society while also providing them transport and financial assistance to purchase household appliances and equipment for their new homes.
"Rs.10, 000 was given per person as an integration payment while Rs.7,500 was paid to a person below the age of 18. additionally, Rs. 2,500 was given as a transport allowance per person and a further Rs. 5, 000 for other expenses. They were also given Rs.28, 000 to purchase equipment and apparatus for their houses on registration under their respective divisional secretaries," he said. We plan to construct 50, 000 houses in the north while steps would be taken to build another 25, 000 houses thereafter for the resettlement of refugees.
He said steps would be taken by the Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development and Hindu Religious Affairs Ministry to provide lands and livelihood assistance to the returnees.
He also said a committee comprising of the Foreign Affairs Minister, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister, the police, navy, Immigration and Emigration Department and the Registrar of Persons Department had been appointed to coordinate the matters. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)
Jaffna Tamil Thursday, 9 August 2018 11:54
Before the 1980 it was the Indian Tamils who used to come to Jaffna as illegal immigrants in small boats. The attraction to Jaffna was obvious,these Indians could get some kind of labour work in Jaffna and it was a safe and peaceful place to live. It was the LTTE and other Tamil groups who made Jaffna into a hell hole and for the first time made the Jaffna Tamils from costal areas to flee to India as refugees. Any one talking about the need for the return of the Tigers should be reminded about this.
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Scooby Doo Thursday, 9 August 2018 15:15
Well said. During the final stages of the war LTTE used innocent civilians to protect themselves no one remembers it now. Many youngsters lost their lives and the rest are now posting status on social medias with the hashtag Prabhakaran as
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Thinker Thursday, 9 August 2018 12:48
All communities must receive the same privileges from the country they belong to and have equal rights. None of us chose to belong to a particular country, race or religion. Imagine us being born to the most marginalized group and how we would feel not to be protected by a Government. The UN Charter of rights protects all. So give these people the help and add to these small amounts a pittance of the salary hike the parliament is asking for monthly!
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wickremasinghe Thursday, 9 August 2018 14:37
Please check all the lists of refugees in Europe,America and Canada to find out about the list of missing people from Sri Lanka during the war .In Sri Lanka they are missing but in other countries they are still living happily ever after.
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