Consider Jaya’s plea for dual citizenship for SL refugees, Batticaloa MP tells govt

Yogeshwaran said after the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009, the Tamils have been patiently waiting for the last 10 years.

RAMESWARAM: Sri Lankan Tamil MP representing Batticaloa Seenithambi Yogeshwaran on Thursday made a forceful plea to the Government of India and Tamil Nadu government to consider former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa’s suggestion to confer ‘dual citizenship’ status to the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in camps in Tamil Nadu to help them get employment.

Speaking at an event organised by the Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK) here in connection with immersion of Ganesh Chaturti idols in the Agnitheertham sea at Rameswaram, Yogeshwaran said the Sri Lankan government was making efforts to take back all the Sri Lankan refugees staying in Tamil Nadu camps and help them to settle with freedom and dignity in their homeland.

However, these efforts were not sufficient and the plight of the Island-Tamil refugees was still bad despite many of them getting educated here, he said. “But even the educated, qualified Sri Lankan Tamil refugees are not getting the jobs that match their qualifications as the Indian laws do not permit it,” he said.

It is in this context that the Central and State governments in India should take steps to confer ‘dual citizenship’ to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, as suggested by late J. Jayalalithaa once, Yogeshwaran said, adding, it will help the educated Tamil youth to get jobs.

Yogeshwaran said after the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009, the Tamils have been patiently waiting for the last 10 years for an enduring peaceful, political settlement of their issues. But the “racist Sinhala regime” in Colombo has hardly made any progress in that direction, he said, and urged the Indian government to play a pro-active role to ensure a “fair and just political settlement of the Tamils problem.” Tamils in Sri Lanka are still hoping for that to happen, he added.

Sri Lanka and Rameswaram in particular have shared a deep bond over centuries, the MP said. There were days when milk for ‘Abshigeam’ for Lord Ramanathaswamy here used to be brought daily from Neduntheevu island, and there was a robust ferry service between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar, he said. But after the destruction of Dhanushkodi in mid-1960s, the ferry service was stopped.

Yogeshwaran said that during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Sri Lanka, he had said that a land bridge will be built between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar. Modi had also earlier agreed, when Sri Lankan MPs had met him in New Delhi, to resume the ferry service between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar in northern Sri Lanka.

Questioning the Tamil rationalists who espouse atheism, Yogeshwaran emphasised the long association of ‘Tamil’ with ‘Shaivism’, particularly in the spiritual centre of Rameswaram.

He later flagged off the Ganesh Chaturti idols immersion rally here to Agnitheertham sea.

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