All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa on Tuesday felt that granting permanent residents status to the Sri Lankan Tamils would not benefit them.
“A mere declaration by the Centre that over a lakh of Sri Lankan Tamils in India would be granted permanent residents’ status would serve no more useful purpose than the declaration that Tamil was a classical language,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said in a statement here.
Ms. Jayalalithaa wondered whether the Permanent Resident title would lead to their release from the 115 camps in which they are now confined.
She asked whether they would be provided with financial assistance or social support like a reservation quota for education and employment.
“If so, whose quota will they eat into, considering that the Supreme Court has already set limitations on the maximum quota permissible? Failing which, will their lot be any better than the lakhs of “Tamils of Indian origin,” who had been repatriated to India under the Sirimavo-Sastri Pact of the 1960s, and are today living under abominable conditions mostly as bonded labourers in South India,” she asked.
Ms. Jayalalithaa asked what the Centre would do with regard to the claims of refugees from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Tibet for citizenship rights or permanent resident status, once a precedent was set.
Knowing well that the Centre would not be able to accede to his demand, Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi had raised the issue in Kancheepuram through his son “in a desperate bid to fool the Tamil community,” she said.
Ms. Jayalalithaa argued that any displaced community, living as refugees in another country, would prefer to be rehabilitated in their own land, amongst their own kith and kin.
“The three decades of war in Sri Lanka was for the Tamils’ right to self-determination in their own homeland. By making a unilateral demand for permanent resident status in India, Karunanidhi has, in his own characteristic style, trivialised the protracted struggle of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka dating back to the 1950s, when the concepts of “Sinhala Only” and “Standardisation” were introduced by the Sri Lankan government,” she said.