Conference Urges Tamil Nadu Government to Survey Living Conditions of Tamil Repatriated From Sri Lanka

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Resolutions adopted at the conference of the ‘Malaiyaha’ (hill country) Tamils have urged the Tamil Nadu government to conduct a survey of the living conditions of the people from the plantation community who were repatriated from Sri Lanka.

The conference was held in Coimbatore on Sunday to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the arrival of their South Indian ancestors in Sri Lanka. They were taken by the British and employed at tea and coffee plantations in the island nation.

The conference was organised by ‘Thayagam Thirumbiya Malaiyaha Thamizharukkana Iyakkam’. The Tamils who were taken to Sri Lanka as labourers 200 years ago were now dispersed as Malaiyaha Tamils in the island nation, repatriates in India and refugees in Tamil Nadu. The Sri Lankan, Indian and the U.K. governments should be held accountable for their scattered dispersal, the resolutions said.

The organisation wanted the Indian government to grant citizenship to repatriates considering that the Sirimavo-Shastri pact has not been implemented fully. As per a resolution, the Tamil Nadu government should undertake a survey of the repatriates, who live Stateless inside and outside refugee camps and ensure the livelihood of repatriates who are employed in Tamil Nadu Tea Plantation Corporation (TANTEA) estates.

Further, patta should be accorded to the land and houses of repatriates who depend on agriculture for their livelihood, it said.

The organisation wanted the Indian government to grant citizenship to the repatriates considering that the Sirimavo-Shastri Pact has not been implemented fully. As per a resolution, the Tamil Nadu government should undertake a survey of the repatriates living “Stateless” inside and outside refugee camps and ensure the livelihood of repatriates employed in Tamil Nadu Tea Plantation Corporation estates.

Further, patta should be accorded to land and houses of repatriates who depend on agriculture for their livelihood, it added.

The organisation wanted the Sri Lankan government to recognise Malaiyaha Tamils. .

All the Tamils who were taken by the British to Sri Lanka for various jobs should be categorised as ‘Malaiyaha Thamilar’, it said, and sought a Constitutional provision for granting administrative autonomy for them.

The Sri Lankan government, the organisation said, should come forward to sanction ownership rights for the land and houses and the Governments of India, Sri Lanka and the U.K. should jointly initiate schemes for the socio-economic progress of Malaiyaha Tamils.

Source: The Hindu