Give them option to go back or provide them with Indian citizenship: CPI

The Communist Party of India (CPI) has urged the Central government to consider sympathetically the ‘pathetic case' of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who are neither in a position to return to Sri Lanka nor are they treated as citizens of India.

The CPI national council on Sunday expressed concern that over four lakh Sri Lankan Tamils who came to India were leading a ‘captive life' in the camps of Tamil Nadu and their issue needed a speedy solution. It expressed disappointment at the Centre's ‘inconsistent and callous attitude' to dealing with the problem of the Sri Lankan Tamils, which had an impact on the Tamil Nadu polity. The party suggested that the government provide the refugees with an option of returning to Sri Lanka or getting Indian citizenship, so that they were entitled to benefits here.

Though the Sri Lankan government had declared that its war against terrorism had been accomplished on May 17 last year, the displaced Tamils remained captive in the camps for more than a year. This, the CPI said, was a violation of human rights, and the government should, therefore, impress upon the Sri Lankan government the need to dismantle the camps and allow the Tamil civilians to live in places of their choice.

CPI national secretariat member Shameem Faizi told journalists that the national council appealed to the Centre to set up an agency to oversee the implementation of rehabilitation programmes, besides pressing the Sri Lankan government for a permanent political settlement within a time frame. The national council adopted a resolution against Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal's claims on allowing foreign universities to set up campuses in the country. The so-called foreign varsities, which were not recognised in their own countries, would open “shops for sale of degrees” here.

The meeting criticised the first year of the United Progressive Alliance's second stint, claiming it was full of failures, corruption and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's inability to control his own Ministers.

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