SALEM: A group of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees residing in camps in Salem district on Monday trooped to the district collectorate and presented a petition to the district collector S A Raman, urging the Central government to grant them 'Indian Citizenship'.
As many as 900 Sri Lankan Tamil families reside in eight camps set up for them in Salem district. Most of these refugees staying in this district came to Tamil Nadu at the height of the ethnic conflict and post-IPKF operations in 1990, it is learnt.
With 29 years having rolled by, their representatives explained to the collector that almost two to three generations have succeeded them. The youth staying in the camps were neither able to pursue higher education including professional studies like Engineering or Medicine nor were they getting jobs in private firms, the Tamil refugees said.
Though the Tamil Nadu government was providing basic amenities to the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, they said it did not help their successive generations to do anything worthwhile in life in the absence of 'basic rights' as citizens. Hence Government of India should consider granting them Indian citizenship, they contended. It was the younger generation of Tamil boys and girls who suffered the most and many of them were at best taken for daily-wage work as casual labour, they said.