Sri Lankan refugees in India hope for repatriation
Posted on November 9th, 2014

By Munza Mushtaq for Khabar South Asia in Colombo -Courtesy Khabar South Asia

An organisation in Tamil Nadu is assisting in repatriating Sri Lankan war refugees.

An NGO in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is trying to help Sri Lankan war refugees who fled there come home, five years after the ethnic conflict ended.

Many of the more than 100,000 Sri Lankan refugees still living in Tamil Nadu want to be repatriated, S.C. Chandrahasan, treasurer for the non-profit known as the Organisation for Elangai Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR), told Khabar South Asia.

“There are more than 3,500 graduates, including post graduates, belonging to the Sri Lankan refugee community currently living in Tamil Nadu, despite being refugees, and these graduates will indeed be avaluable asset to Sri Lanka,” Chandrahasan said during a recent visit to Colombo.

His organisation has called for a Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian and Sri Lankan governments to facilitate the repatriation of refugees.

Chandrahasan recalled that President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a public speech two years ago, had called on all Sri Lankans who fled the war to return to the country.

“This was a very encouraging statement, and it was on this basis that we have been following up by trying to facilitate the return of the refugees back to Sri Lanka,” he added.

Still languishing in camps

With assistance from the state and Indian governments, Sri Lankan refugees have lived in Tamil Nadu since 1983. A little more than 100,000 are housed in 110 camps scattered across 25 districts. Yet since the war in Sri Lanka ended in May 2009, only around 8,000 refugees have been repatriated.

Sri Lanka is making progress with regard to bringing back the refugees, Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told Khabar.

“But there are certain constraints, which are currently being discussed and sorted between the relevant ministries of both countries,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to Chandrahasan, External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris said he appreciated OfERR’s efforts to facilitate the refugees’ return.

“The voluntary return of refugees to Sri Lanka is an important aspect of the resettlement process,” Peiris wrote.

In Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, the Sri Lankan High Commission is helping refugees sort out paperwork required for their repatriation, such as birth certificates and citizenship documents.

“It is also important to involve the Indian government in this process,” Chandrahasan said, suggesting that India and Sri Lanka could underwrite support to the refugees for a few years in order to ease their transition to a new life back home.

“This way, the refugees know they will continue to have support until they are able to get back on their feet,” Chandrahasan said.

Sri Lanka has a larger role to play in this process, which, if successful, could inspire Sri Lankan refugees living in other parts of the world beyond Tamil Nadu, to return home, he added.

“This could be a turning point, and can usher in a new era for Sri Lanka,” Chandrahasan said.

7 Responses to “Sri Lankan refugees in India hope for repatriation”

  1. AnuD Says:

    Just forget it. They are living in their mother land.

  2. SA Kumar Says:

    Just forget it. They are living in their mother land.-agreed but as our Ilankai tradition we live in father land(home).

  3. SA Kumar Says:

    Also they back to NP (Saiva TE) or EP (Muslim TE) than why you worry ???

  4. Sri Rohana Says:

    1) Chandrahasan is a son of Malaysia born tamil politician SJV Chelvanayakam who formed the racist tamil political party ITAC in 1949 in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). ITAC is a cat’s paw of tamil country (tamil nadu)’s Munnetra Kazagam movement which is openly for tamil expansionism. Now Chandrahasan is following his dad’s politics as a NGO for tamil expansionism to Sri Lanka.
    2) Since 1994 there are shiploads of tamils brought from tamil nadu to talai mannar and trincomalee ports and settled. How come he says that still 100.000 living in Tamil country. (tamil nadu). Under resettlement scheme tamil nadu can send any one without any identification and once they come to Sri Lanka officials has to issue an identity card as a Sri Lankan citizen. This is a smooth way of settle tamil nadians in north and east of Sri Lanka.
    3) Tamils refugees who went to tamil country are mostly illegal migrants to Sri Lanka and they went to tamil nadu as it is tamil’s home land to them.
    4) Most of this tamil still living in camps in tamil country (tamil nadu) since 1983 according to Chandrahassan. How come a tamil become a refugee in a tamil country (tamil nadu). They have a right to live in their ancestral country. Why can’t Chandrahasan request from tamil nadu government to grant them citizenship.
    5) This is utter shame in tamil nadu politicians as they use this issue for their political agenda. In Europe or any western country if a refugee comes, within three years they grant the citizenship. Rich Tamils who managed to go to Europe, Canada, Australia and USA from Colombo airport able to get citizenship within three years and now they visit Sri Lanka as tourists and enjoy in our beaches and cities.
    6) Chandrahasan says they live in camps. Unbelievable! Kept their own brothers and sisters 21 years as prisoners?
    7) There are many tamil nadu politicians whom agenda is the “rights of tamil in Sri Lanka”. But neither Jayalalitha nor Karunanidhi, nor Vaiko nor Seeman wants to grant citizenship to tamils who came back to their mother land. This is truly a hidden political agenda.
    8) According to tamils those who claim political refugee status in western countries always says they harassed and they don’t have equal rights in Sri Lanka. If so why these refugees who fled to their home land, ancestral country now leaving it and come back to Sri Lanka. Chandrahasan may know the answer?
    9) In tamil nadu (tamil country) they can speak tamil language, they can observe hindu religion, they can educate in tamil language, they can communicate in tamil country. Everywhere is tamil so why bother to come back to Sri Lanka even after 20 years in camps.
    10) Chandrahasan says tamils can contribute to Sri Lanka. We have seen how his dad’s contribution as a god father of tamil terrorism. LTTE and other terrorists born in ITAC womb. 30 years we suffered from tamil terrorism. More than enough for us. Tamils please allow us to live peacefully in our country you better contribute to the countries where you guys got bogus refugee status. But we need not selfish, ungrateful traitors to Sri Lanka. Enough is enough.

  5. SA Kumar Says:

    Just forget it. They are living in their mother land.”wheels of Karma would turn slowly, but surely”!

  6. SA Kumar Says:

    ball is in Indian court -Our CM said please send back to all Tamils from Indian refuge camps but make sure their house have been vacated by SL forces in NEP.
    Well done CM !!!
    this what old say keep Educated person not 7th grade dropped out (VP) as head of Hela Demilaya (Eelath Thamilan) !

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    REPEAL the 13th Amendment NOW! NO ONE except India wants it!

    Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, now visiting HIS MOTHERLAND of Tamil Nadu, URGES 100,000 Sri Lankan Tamil “refugees” in India to return to Sri Lanka … to increase the number of Tamils in SL …. and STRENGTHEN his hand in his quest for EELAM!

    Old Wiggie, who benefited mightily from every opportunity Sri Lanka gave him in full measure, now feels “discriminated against” and wants MORE DEVOLVED POWERS to give him greater access to get more benefits than 13A, 13A+, or 13A++ …. OFFERS!

    Will 13A+++++ satisfy him? Not on your life!

    THEREFORE, NOTHING will satisfy this AVOWED SEPARATIST short of a completely sovereign state of EELAM carved out our Motherland of Sri Lanka.

    He wants India to get it for him, and is canvassing SUPPORT for it in HIS TRUE MOTHERLAND of Tamil Nadu in India!

    If INVITING FOREIGN COUNTRIES to DIVIDE & DISMANTLE the country of one’s own citizenship, is NOT TREASON, what is TREASON?

    Oliver Cromwell cut off King Charles’s head in jolly old England in 1649 for precisely the SAME TREASON of inviting a foreign Irish Catholic Army to invade England to restore England’s crown to him.

    Now, Old Wiggie feels the need for a TRUE CROWN of a Sovereign State of EELAM to rest on his balding head, and is inviting India to get it hor him. He is terminally unconsolable serving just as a common garden-variety Chief Minister of Sovereign Sri Lanka’s Northern Province!

    We must put this TREACHEROUS INGRATE out of his UNBEARABLE MISERY … REPEAL the 13th Amendment completely, ABOLISH the Provincial Councils, and CONVICT and EXECUTE this TRAITOR!

    ARREST him, PROSECUTE him, and CONVICT him of TREASON, and CUT OFF his head, just as King Charles did to pay for his TREASON against his country!

    We need to STOP Sri Lankan political leaders from going to other countries and COMMITTING TREASON!
    Spare the Rod and Spoil the Ministers.
    Make EXAMPLES of them to COMPEL others to CEASE & DESIST.
    Let us do it RIGHT, let us do it LEGALLY, with the FULL FORCE of the nation’s laws!

    Start at the TOP, NOW!

    Start with Old Wiggie … As a former Supreme Court Justice, he should know that CRIME MERITS PUNISHMENT better than anyone else, having meted out PUNISHMENT to scores of others!

    Return Home,Wigneswaran Tells Refugees

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Nov 11 (ENS) CHENNAI- Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran on Monday made an impassioned appeal to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India to return to their homeland to strengthen the hands of his government.

    Accusing the Lankan establishment of changing the demography of the Tamil majority areas by settling Sinhalese outsiders, he said that return of refugees would increase the bargaining power of the Tamil community as a whole.

    At a press conference, Wigneswaran was asked for his opinion on a recent survey that said a substantial number of refugees preferred to stay back in Tamil Nadu. “The Tamil Nadu government and the Central government are taking care of one lakh of our people. Some of them may feel like they do not want to come back. But I ask them to understand that all their lands are being taken over by the (Sri Lankan) Army,” he said.

    “We also need their support back home, to ensure we have a proper devolution of powers. If all of them come back, it would also help increase our presence in the Parliament,” Wigneswaran added. He repeated a number of points he had made a day earlier, as part of a lecture arranged by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and said no political solution could be reached in Sri Lanka without India’s involvement. He also stressed on the need to ban trawl fishing in the Palk Bay, as a key method of resolving the problems faced by fishermen of both sides.

    Wigneswaran clarified that while the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution was a critical aim, neither it nor any of its other proposed forms (such as 13+ or the more recent 13++) would prove an actual solution. “We have been saying since 1987 that the 13th Amendment is not in the entire spirit of the India – Sri Lanka Accord. No matter whether it is plus or plus-plus, it can only be a stepping stone towards true devolution of powers,” he said.

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