Modi visit effect: Rijiu promises citizenship to Lanka refugees

TN govt has done work at refugee camp, says state minister for home

Shivani Gaurav Chaturvedi | March 24, 2015


#Sri Lanka   #narendra modi   #kiren rijiju   #refugees   #tamil nadu  

After prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka recently, union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday met Lankan refugees in Gummidipoondi town near Chennai and assured them of government's assistance.

The union government, he said, would respond positively to any Tamil Nadu government recommendation to grant Indian citizenship to Sri Lankan refugees. The camp inmates submitted a memorandum to the central government.

Rijuju told reporters that in the last several years very few central leaders had visited the refugee camp and said he was happy to do so and to see if the inmates are happy with facilities given to them. The union minister thanked the state government for taking all the necessary steps and told the inmates that he would also seek a report from the state government on issues they had raised. The union minister promised to take up the issues with the central government.

"We will seek report from Tamil Nadu Government, because all the policies for your welfare have to be taken together," he added.
"We wanted to see the humanitarian effort provided to you by the Centre and the state government, we have to ensure that your living condition is proper and you are happy with the way things are being arranged for you," he further added.

Over 100,000 Sri Lankans are estimated to have sought refuge in south India during the conflict between separatist rebels and the Sri Lankan army, which lasted a quarter of a century.

Modi was in Lanka few days ago and he visited Jaffna town, which was once Lankan Tamil stronghold.

Meanwhile, the third round of talks between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen began at Chennai on Tuesday. Talks are being held with a 15-member delegation from Lanka headed by the Director of Fisheries, MCL Fernando and thirteen fishermen from Tamil Nadu and four fishermen from Karaikal.

Issues like fishing rights in traditional waters, attacks on fishermen and seizing their fishing nets and boats, safe release of fishermen when they are arrested, fishing practices acceptable to both countries and usage of environment friendly methods in fishing, are five points which will figure in the talks today.

Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister KA Jayapal, Secretaries of the animal husbandry and fisheries department and authorities of coastal marine security and Special Secretary of the Puducherry government are present. On behalf of the Central Government, officials of the External Affairs Ministry are present.

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