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Jayalalithaa flays TN CM for demanding citizenship for Tamil refugees

[Hindu, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 12:48 No Comment]

Accusing Chief Minister M Karunanidhi of ‘trivialising’ the Tamils’ struggle in Sri Lanka, the AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa flayed his demand to grant permanent citizenship to the Tamil refugees, saying displaced people only preferred to be rehabilitated in their own land.

“Any displaced community, living as refugees in another country, would prefer to be rehabilitated in their own land, amongst their own kith and kin,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said in a statement, reacting to Mr. Karunanidhi’s plea to the Centre for granting permanent citizenship to Lankan Tamil refugees settled in the state.

“By making a unilateral demand for permanent resident status, Mr. Karunanidhi has trivialised the protracted struggle of the Tamil people dating back to the 1950s, when concepts of Sinhala only and Standardisation, were introduced by the Sri Lankan government,” she said.

Mr. Karunanidhi was part of the centre which had “snuffed out” the Tamils’ fight for self-determination, she said.

She wondered whether the refugees would be able to derive any major benefits by getting status of permanent resident.

“Would they, among others, enjoy reservation, and if yes, from which existing quota,” she asked.

“Further, what would the Government of India do with regard to claims of refugees from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Tibet for citizenship rights once a precedent is set with the Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka,” she said.

Mr. Karunanidhi’s demand is also opposed by the DMDK headed by actor Vijayakanth and BJP.

The DMDK presidium chairman, P Ramachandran, has said the idea of granting citizenship was a convenient ploy to help the Lankan government to push the Tamils out of their homeland.

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