SL passports for Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu

Founder and chief functionary of Organization for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR) S.C. Chandrahasan on Friday said that Lankan refugees living in South India welcome recent move by the government to issue passports to them.

“This recognition will help around 100,000 Lankan refugees in South India. This was announced by Eastern Province Governor Senthil Thondaman at a function held at the Sri Lankan consulate in Chennai during his recent visit. Around 600 Lankans living in refugee camps have already applied for Lankan passports,” Chandrahasan told the Sunday Island.

Chandrahasan, who is a son of former Federal Party leader SJV Chelvanayakam, said that around 59,000 Lankans currently live in various refugee camps maintained by the Tamil Nadu government while around 41,000 have been able to live in their own homes with the assistance of their relatives living all over the world.

President of OfERR, S Sooriyakumari, told the Sunday Island that this proces would immensely benefit the members of Lankan refugeee community in Tamil Nadu as these passports will enable them to visit their families in Sri Lanka or any other country. This should have been done many years back, he said.

Governor Thondaman in a ‘Face to Face’ interview telecast last week said that President Wickremesinghe had directed that work on issuing passports and travel documents to Lankans living in Indian refugee camps begins early.