Last Updated : 25-04-2014 02:49


 
 

Video: Lankan refugees allege police harassment

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CHENNAI: An indefinite hunger strike by 10 Sri Lankan refugees at the Chengalpet special camp against their detention entered its 11th day on Monday.

The strike has brought the spotlight on a small group of protestors, including some LTTE sympathizers and others accused of human trafficking and smuggling. Eight of the protesting Lankan Tamils, who were admitted in the Chengalpet government hospital by police a few days ago, are continuing their fast there.

This is their second hunger strike within a year. They held a similar demonstration in April. CPI state secretary D Pandian, who visited them in the hospital on Monday, said, "Their health condition has deteriorated and doctors say they are in a critical state."

Police said 29 Lankan Tamils, two Nigerians, a South African and a Norwegian have been detained in the Chengalpet special camp. "There are three former LTTE members in the camp. Few were members of other armed groups in Sri Lanka. But they have been detained here only for recent criminal activities," said a senior police officer. A few of them are accused of human trafficking and few others have been accused of smuggling. Once every three months, the conduct and behaviour of the special camp inmates, either acquitted or who have served their sentences, are being assessed. "A committee, headed by a public secretary, will release the inmates based on reports of revenue, legal and police departments," said the officer.

But the Lankan inmates blame their continued detention on procedural delay and allege harassment by the police. T Parabaran, one of the eight people in the hospital, told TOI, "I have been detained in the special camp for more than two years. I have no cases in India, but I am forced to stay back in the special camp. We feel the situation in the camp is far worse than it is in Sri Lanka." He said during the earlier hunger strike in April officials had promised that 15 Sri Lankan Tamils would be released on June 5. "But nothing happened. We are very firm about continuing our protest," he said.

Some of the Lankan Tamils have been detained in the special camp for more than six years. Some of them are being detained even though the courts have acquitted them, said Pandian.

He threatened to write a letter to chief minister J Jayalalithaa, pleading their case. Filmmaker Pugazhendi Thangaraj accused the government of delaying the release of the inmates. He had organized a 'telegram' campaign in which more than 500 telegrams were sent to the chief minister demanding release of the Lankan Tamils. A group of lyricists met on Monday and sought the chief minister's intervention in the matter. (Source: Times of India)

 

 
 

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