Former Sri Lanka Northern Province chief minister CV Wigneswaran Sunday met actor Rajinikanth at his Poes Garden residence in Chennai. According to reports, the two discussed the political situation in the island nation, along with various issues related to Sri Lankan Tamils. Wigneswaran, who is in Chennai to participate in various events on the sidelines of the Pongal festival, also invited the actor to visit Sri Lanka soon.
This invite from the former chief minister comes after a controversy broke out in early 2017 about Rajinikanth’s visit to Sri Lanka. Through Lyca Productions, which bankrolled his hit movie 2 Point O, Rajinikanth had planned to travel to the island nation to participate in events that included the distribution of homes to war-torn Tamils in northern Jaffna. However, political parties and other pro-Tamil organisations protested due to the alleged connection between Lyca and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and Rajinikanth canceled his visit.
On Sunday, Wigneswaran spoke of the need for dual citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamils who have been living in India for a long time.
Joining Tamil Nadu Opposition leaders protesting against the CAA for leaving out Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, Wigneswaran said dual citizenship should be granted to refugees living in India for more than three decades.
Speaking to reporters after participating in a Global Organisation of Tamil Origins meeting, he said: “We hope they (Sri Lankan Tamil refugees) will return to their own country, but we also understand their need to extend their stay in India, so dual citizenship is the ideal solution. There is no agreement between Sri Lanka and India over this; the two nations need to work together to find an amicable way to take this issue forward.”
When asked about Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s promise that he would treat Tamils on par with Sinhalese people and reduce the security restrictions on areas with a high Tamil population, Wigneswaran said it hasn’t come into effect so far.
He claimed the central government has stalled several welfare schemes his government had implemented when they were in power, making the Tamils economically vulnerable.
As part of his visit, Wigneswaran has been meeting various TN leaders. Earlier on Sunday, he met Viduthalai Siruthaigal Katchi leader and Chidambaram MP Thirumavalavan. Wigneswaran said because of the civil war and poor administration of the Sri Lankan government, over 10 lakh people have left Sri Lanka and sought asylum in various countries. “Over 1 lakh Sri Lankan Tamil refugees are in camps here, they need to return to Sri Lanka. The population of the Tamils in Northern Province is declining and because of that, our representation in parliament is beginning to fade,” he said.