SL Police harasses Eezham Tamil refugees returning home from Tamil Nadu with lawsuits

[TamilNet, Saturday, 19 May 2018, 09:55 GMT]
Eezham Tamils who fled the island in their young age during the times of war are now returning home with their children who are born in Tamil Nadu. Unable to wait for the lengthy and costly process of securing passports, they are taking too much of risks and face harassments from the occupying SL Navy and SL Police. However, they continue to hire boats to reach their homeland unable to tolerate the humiliating conditions prevailing in the camps such as Ma'ndapam refugee camp in Tamil Nadu. Many of them have heartbreaking stories to narrate. Due to poverty, they are unable to bear the costs associated with an official return. The UNHCR, which is the UN refugee agency tasked with a formal role to take care of their resettlement, is ineffective, they say.

Upon their return, they get criminalised by a hostile Sinhala Navy and the SL police, which files lawsuits alleging the parents for illegal child trafficking.

Twelve people, including a nine months baby that didn't accompany its parents, returned home on 05 May. The group was intercepted in Jaffna at Kaangkeasan-thu'rai (KKS).

There were three women, four children and five males in the group. They had fled Trincomalee during the height of the war in 2006. The mother of the child had returned home last month on 24 April.

The mother said it took many months to secure official documents and that she gave birth to a new child while waiting for the papers of the first child.

However, the conditions she was living under were so pathetic that she took the risk of returning home leaving her child to be transported across the sea with her friends.

Similarly, Chandraleka, the mother of a 7-year-old daughter, said she could not afford to pay vast sums to bribe the immigration/emigration department officials in Tamil Nadu to speed up the process. Her husband had committed suicide after separation, and she was struggling with low-paid jobs for refugees in Ma'ndapam.

More than 200,000 Eezham Tamils are still residing in Tamil Nadu State in India as refugees. Around 150,000 of them are staying in 150 camps spread across the State.

 

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