Sri Lankan Tamils who live in Tamil Nadu can return to their motherland, the government will facilitate the repatriation, says Deputy High Commissioner D Venkateshwaran.
Over 58,000 Sri Lankan Tamils are residing in 108 different rehabilitation. Camps in Tamil Nadu that are spread across 15 districts while over 30,000 are living out of the camps.
These are Sri Lankan Tamils who arrived in India when the civil war was at its peak in the island nation thrice in the last four decades.
As the peace returns slowly, the Sri Lankan government has initiated work on voluntary repatriation of Sri Lankan nationals living in the rehabilitation camps of Tamil Nadu.
“It’s voluntary repatriation, we don’t force anyone to return. They can approach us through the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) rehabilitation department. We are ready to help them by all means. We will also work on an appropriate transportation method. Initial works such as data collection have begun now," told D Venkateshwaran, exclusively to News 18, who is in charge of six States.
Sri Lankan Tamils living across the globe have been demanding the evacuation of all the Sri Lankan military bases and settlements from the Northern front, which is predominantly the region of Tamils.
“Demilitarisation in those zones are happening gradually, you can compare the earlier scenario. Military camps will start vanishing once the investments flow, developments happen in the form of industries and tourism,” said the deputy high commissioner.
Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited the Yazhpanam airport this week which was constructed with Indian investment.
Rejecting the allegations that Sri Lanka is giving much preference to China over India, the Srilankan diplomat said, “Sri Lanka is an open economy, we give first preference to India. But there is a general perception in India that Sri Lanka is choosing China over India. A few projects would have got delayed in the approval and implementation level. We are open to private Indian investments which will also provide employment opportunities to the Sri Lankan Tamils who will return to their motherland after decades,” he added.