TN seeks legal advice to grant refugee status to Sri Lankans

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The Tamil Nadu government has approached legal experts to provide refugee status to the Sri Lankan Tamils who have reached the state in the wake of the ongoing economic crisis in the island nation.

Till date, 60 Sri Lankan Tamils have reached Dhanushkodi and Rameswaram.

Most of them sold all their belongings to reach the Indian shores in fishing boats paying huge money.

Tamil Nadu has accommodated all the refugees at the Mandapam refugee camp but the accommodation is temporary as the state would have to get a green signal from the Central to provide full-scale refugee status to those who reach Indian shores.

Sources in the Tamil Nadu government told IANS that it has used the services of some senior lawyers in New Delhi over granting of the refugee status.

More than 1 lakh Sri Lankan Tamils are in India currently, with a majority of them in Tamil Nadu and accommodated in 67 refugee camps.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK. Stalin had recently increased the cash support to the refugees who are lodged in rehabilitation and refugee camps in various parts of the state.

According to the revised budget, the head of a family will now receive Rs 1,500 from the earlier Rs 1,000. An adult member of the family will now get Rs 1,000 while a child will receive Rs 500.

Presently the Tamil Nadu government consider those who arrive from Sri Lanka as illegal migrants but provide them with food and lodging and is awaiting a green signal from the Centre to provide them refugee status.

The legal experts engaged by the Tamil Nadu government are providing the necessary legal support for providing refugee status to these people.

A senior official with the Tamil Nadu government told IANS: “The state government is keen that all of them are provided refugee status and is awaiting clearance from the Central government. We have already engaged senior lawyers to remove all the legal tangles regarding granting refugee status to these people. However, the final clearance will be provided by the Central government.”

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