The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, made a strong case on Monday for the return of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu to their homeland, saying it was necessary to prevent the government’s “design” to settle the Sinhalese in the traditional Tamil areas.
Addressing a press conference here along with his Health Minister P. Sathyalingam and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, he said that over 1.2 lakh Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka were living in India, and their presence back home was necessary to ensure Tamil representation in parliament.
He said most of the refugees had left behind their land and property in Sri Lanka. If they continued to live in India, their property would be appropriated by the Sri Lankan Army. “They will settle Sinhalese in the traditional Tamil areas, and it will change the demographic pattern of the Northern Province,” he said.
Asked whether the refugees would be prepared to leave India when there was uncertainty in Sri Lanka, he said they would gradually change their mind.
Mr. Sumanthiran said that since India was supporting the refugees, it could continue helping them even after they returned home. He also pointed to the presence of military personnel in Tamil areas, where one lakh young Tamil widows faced threats.
Mr. Wigneswaran said that though the Mahinda Rajapaksa government boasted about providing roads and train services after the end of the civil war, it could not bring any change in the lives of Tamil people. “…we need special packages to address the problems on the ground. But the government is not ready to provide any relief or arrange livelihood for one lakh widows and their children and those who are physically challenged.”