Special Correspondent

Laments that it comes at a time when consular facilitation for repatriation is in full swing

CHENNAI: It is unfortunate that there is an influx of refugees from Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu at a time when efforts to repatriate or facilitate their return are being made by the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai, its chief diplomat, Sumit Nakandala, said.

"I don't think anybody should fear that war would break out again in Sri Lanka," Mr. Nakandala said, responding to media persons' questions on the recent influx of refugees.

Consular facilitation for repatriation and return of the refugees from Sri Lanka was in full swing, with travel documents, birth certificates and citizenship certificates for children born in India being distributed. In last three years, since the ceasefire agreement of 2002, 4500 refugees had gone back to Sri Lanka, mainly with the help from the UNHCR.

However, since January 12, over 200 refugees had landed in Tamil Nadu.

Mr.Nakandala conveyed the gratitude of the Sri Lankan Government to Tamil Nadu, which, though overburdened with refugees, continued to provide good facilities for shelter and education.

There were 2000 graduates among the 55,000 refugees living in 100 camps in the State.

Reiterating President Mahinda Rajapakse's commitment to go ahead with the peace talks, he said the Government was very flexible and would respond to the talks with utmost sincerity.