Tamil Nadu

Survey planned to ascertain how many Sri Lankan Tamils want Indian citizenship

The Advisory Committee met for the first time last week and deliberated on the issues facing the Sri Lankan Tamils in the State.  

A panel constituted by the Tamil Nadu Government, tasked to find durable solutions for short and long-term issues facing the Sri Lankan Tamils living in and out of camps across the State, has decided to undertake a survey to ascertain how many among them want Indian citizenship.

The Advisory Committee, which was constituted by the State Government following the announcement made by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin in the Assembly last year, met for the first time last week, and deliberated on the issues facing the Sri Lankan Tamils in the State.

“We will write to the Union Home Ministry and the State Government seeking details on the total number of people who have arrived from Sri Lanka since independence and also data on how many of them have been granted Indian citizenship so far,” Chennai North MP Kalanidhi Veeraswamy, one of the participants at the meeting, told The Hindu.

After a survey, the State Government would then request the Union Home Ministry to consider the case of Sri Lankan Tamils and make necessary provisions in the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, to facilitate Indian citizenship for them, he said.

Era Elamparithi, senior researcher in the Department of Criminology, University of Madras, another member of the panel pointed to the presence of the missed-out population of Indian-origin Tamils in the camps.

Camp population

About 50% of the camp population wanted Indian citizenship on the grounds of their Indian origin and citizenship by birth for their children.

He insisted on removing the ‘illegal migrants’ tag from Sri Lankan Tamils, which he contended was the main obstacle to their legal demand for Indian citizenship. Senior journalist Govi Lenin, another member in the panel, said Tamils from Sri Lanka the State could be categorized under multiple categories — those who arrived after the signing of the Sirimavo-Shastri Pact and Sirimavo-Gandhi Pact, those who came after the holocaust, those who arrived during the war between the Sri Lankan Government and rebel forces, and children of these persons, who were born in Tamil Nadu, among others.

“There is a need for collect details of them all and to see what documents they have,” he said.

As of July 1 2021, a total of 58,668 persons from 18,937 families living inside camps and 34,123 persons from 13,553 families of Sri Lankan origin were living outside the camps across Tamil Nadu.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 8:27:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/survey-planned-to-ascertain-how-many-sri-lankan-tamils-want-indian-citizenship/article38103387.ece

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