There are 27 Indian Tamils and five Malayalees in the Welikada prison

Indian Tamil prisoners in the local prison here have appealed to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to secure their release.

“We have written an e-mail to the Chief Minister's Cell and have also sent open appeals to her to help our cause. No one else seems interested in us,” one prisoner said. There are 27 Indian Tamils and five Malayalees in the Welikada prison. They are all serving life terms for carrying narcotics. Some of the prisoners have completed more than a decade in prison. In a recent show of defiance, a few prisoners went on a fast , and later climbed on to the roof of their prison block in a bid to draw attention to their plight.

In the past, they had appealed to many Members of Parliament and also Ministers from Kerala. Despite the elected representatives raising the issue in both the Kerala Assembly and Parliament, there was no progress.

Sri Lanka and India have inked an agreement last year on exchange of prisoners, but these prisoners, some in jail for more than a decade, say they are yet to gain from the agreement.

“Our consent was taken in forms. We were also subjected to a medical examination a few days ago. But we see no hope here unless someone from India takes up our case,” the prisoner added.