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DMK wants Tamil refugees in CAB

DMK MPs staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha on Monday after floor leader TR Baalu said the proposed bill did not include Lankan Tamils and the government should have been ‘sensitive’ to Tamil sentiments. The Shiv Sena too said CAB should include Tamil refugees.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 10, 2019, 08.38 AM IST
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DMK is likely to renew its demand for granting Indian citizenship to over 3 lakh Tamil refugees when the Citizenship Amendment Bill is taken up in the Rajya Sabha.
New Delhi: DMK is likely to renew its demand for granting Indian citizenship to over 3 lakh Tamil refugees when the Citizenship Amendment Bill is taken up in the Rajya Sabha. DMK RS MP Tiruchi Siva told ET “our demand is to include Sri Lanka in list of countries and also Muslims too” on the grounds of persecution.

DMK MPs staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha on Monday after floor leader TR Baalu said the proposed bill did not include Lankan Tamils and the government should have been ‘sensitive’ to Tamil sentiments. The Shiv Sena too said CAB should include Tamil refugees. Home ministry officials, however, said that a standard operating procedure was issued in December 2011 to protect refugees from other countries and Lankan refugees will not be included in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

DMK MPs will also ask its main rival, AIADMK, which supports CAB, to clarify its stand on the demand. AIADMK has 11 MPs in the Rajya Sabha, while DMK has five. In 1991, AIADMK’s erstwhile leader J Jayalalithaa had pressured ally Congress, which supported the Chandra Shekhar government, to dismiss M Karunanidhi’s DMK government on the allegation that cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a proscribed organisation fighting for Tamil independence in Sri Lanka, had a ‘free run’ in Tamil Nadu. Although the then opposition criticised Karunandihi’s dismissal, the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi later vindicated Jaya’s stand.

Refugees had fled Sri Lanka during the three-decade ethnic civil war. They live in camps in coastal districts of Tamil Nadu. According to official figures, 304,269 Lankan Tamil refugees arrived in India between July 1983 and August 2012 and the Centre has spent Rs 1,021 crore for their relief from 1983 to March 2019. Asylum has been granted to stateless Lankans who had not applied for citizenship, those who have not yet been conferred Lankan citizenship and Lankan citizens.

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