‘Citizenship must be given to SL Tamils’

They have not come to India illegally, says MDMK leader

Published - September 03, 2021 01:06 am IST - CHENNAI

The State government must insist that the Union government provide citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who have been living in the State for a long time, MDMK leader Vaiko said.

In a statement detailing the history of the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, he said they had come to India as refugees and not illegally. The Indian government welcomed them, registered their details and provided them shelter in refugee camps.

He said there were around 45,000 Malay Tamils in various refugee camps in the State and, as per the Citizenship Act, they were eligible for Indian citizenship. There were around 10,000 Eelam Tamils who were also seeking Indian citizenship.

Some of the Eelam Tamils want to return to Sri Lanka. The United Nations Human Right Council provides assistance for them to go back. But many of them who have gone back based on promises made by the Sri Lankan government have not got any assistance from it. Nor did they get lands back. They are staying at their relatives houses as they do not have any other place to stay,” he said.

Due to this, those who want to go back are now hesitant. In case they want to go, the Indian government should get assurance that they will be taken care of.

The MDMK leader said many European nations had given citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamils. It could be given on the basis of place of birth, marriage, being a resident of a country for more than 20 years. But it was being denied to the Sri Lankan Tamils claiming that they came her illegally. “It should be announced that they did not come here illegally,” he said.

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