Rue there is no nation to call their own

"About 23 years ago I came here as a refugee. It is my curse that not only my children, but also my grandchildren continue to carry the tag of refugees,” rues S. Vigneshwari (48), a Sri Lankan Tamil living in the Anaiyur Sri Lankan Refugees Camp here.

She was one of the protestors who took part in a hunger strike at Anaiyur undertaken by the inmates of the camps at Anaiyur and Tiruvathavur. Vigneshwari was echoing the sentiments of the Sri Lankan Tamils here. They want to go back to their motherland, provided they get a separate Eelam.

These people arrived here after losing their properties and leaving their relatives back home.

“Still, we are losing one or other brethren at the hands of the Sri Lankans every day. How many were killed and how many sexually assaulted one will never know,” she said.

G. Thangaraj (55) claimed that the situation at Sri Lanka had reached a stage where there could not be peaceful coexistence between the Tamils and the Sinhalese. “It is not possible to live together. We need a country of our own,” he said.

“Sri Lankan Tamils live all over the world, but there is no nation to call our own even after decades of struggle. While many countries give citizenship to people who had stayed for five years, the Tamils in India are living as refugees and not as citizens, without the right to vote,” Ms. Vigneshwari said.

However, she was quick to add that her demand was not for Indian citizenship, but to go back to her motherland.

The president of the Anaiyur refugees’ camp management committee, S. Anthony, said that the purpose of observing the fast was to support the students who had been protesting against the Sri Lanka government. “We demand an amendment in the US-sponsored resolution moved in the United Nations Human Rights Council for a separate nation for Tamils in Sri Lanka. (Sri Lankan President Mahinda) Rajapaksa should be declared a war criminal,” he said.

A day-long fast was observed at the Uchapatti refugees’ camp as well.

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