RAMESWARAM: Responding to the return of the Rakjapaksa brothers to the helm of government in Sri Lanka with a sense of apprehension and trepidation, Tamil refugees from the Island-Republic staying in the Mandapam transit camp near here have urged the new regime to return all the land and property the Tamils in North and East lost during the long civil war to them.
“Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been elected president of Sri Lanka and his elder brother and former president Mahinda Rajapaksa will now take over as the new Prime Minister there, but we do not want the repeat of the past when thousands of Eelam Tamils were butchered; the new rulers should do a 'praayaschit' for their acts of omission and commission against the Tamils in the past and take steps ensure our safety and livelihood,” a cross-section of refugees at the Mandapam camp spoken to on the big political changes in the Island-Nation, have opined.
Even until recently, the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees at the largest camp for them in Mandapam were keen to go back to their native villages in the Island; but now there appears to be some hesitancy, their enthusiasm to return home being getting lessened in intensity in the last few days after the presidential poll there.
A Tamil refugee in the Mandapam camp who did not wish to be named said, the Rajapaksa brothers should not “revert back to their earlier practice (of ethnic cleansing) and instead rehabilitate the Tamils and help them start a new life.”
A woman refugee in the camp recalled the untold misery and pain they had to undergo during the previous Rajapaksa regime in Sri Lanka, adding, “that is why we again came back here as refugees.” “We are living in peace here (India), but they have a policy to exterminate the Tamils and that’s why there is fear among us,” she explained.
“As and when we return to our homes, it is enough if they do not subject us another phase of pain and suffering, treat us as equal citizens and just let us live,” the woman refugee added....