Sri Lankan refugees welcome DMK’s poll promise on citizenship

Rameswaram: Sri Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu have welcomed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s promise of citizenship if the party is voted to power in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

“Stalin has announced citizenship for us. This brings happiness to us because we want to live here,” said an inhabitant of the Mandapam transit camp in Rameswaram on Wednesday.

Another resident of the camp said, “There are still problems related to rehabilitation and security to Tamilians living in Sri Lanka. Rehabilitation process has not been completed yet. Many of us are willing to stay back in here in India and get rid of the refugee tag given to us. We welcome this step.”

DMK, in its election manifesto released on March 19, promised Indian citizenship to Sri Lankan refugees and efforts to release seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

A total of 39 Lok Sabha seats are at stake in Tamil Nadu and one in Puducherry. DMK will contest 20 out of 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, while its ally Congress will contest on nine seats and also the lone seat in Puducherry.

Tamil Nadu will go to polls on April 18 for its 39 parliamentary constituencies while by-polls will also be held in 18 assembly seats simultaneously. The Election Commission will announce the results on May 23.