Tamil Nadu

Sri Lankan Tamil refugees | Mandapam’s unknown history

It might sound strange to know but it is a fact that the Mandapam camp, spanning over 95 hectares, was originally set up by the Sri Lankan government in 1917. At that time, it was treated as a quarantine camp for labourers, hailing from different parts of Tamil Nadu, to be employed in tea estates of Sri Lanka’s central region. The workers were first taken through ships from Rameswaram to Talaimannar in the Northern Province. With the permission of the Central government, the camp’s ownership, including that of the land and buildings, was formally transferred to the Tamil Nadu government in September 1965 for ₹19 lakh. Between 1966 and 1984, the camp again became a transit point, this time for the reverse migration, thanks to two bilateral agreements. Totally, 4,60,724 persons were repatriated and given Indian citizenship. Since the 1983 pogrom, Tamil Nadu saw an influx of 3,04, 269 refugees.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 6:43:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/mandapams-unknown-history/article36409646.ece

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