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Do they or don’t they? Sri Lanka’s Central Bank deletes call for diaspora cash

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has deleted a call it put out to “Sri Lankans living abroad”, in a desperate plea for foreign remittances as a government delegation meets with the International Monetary Fund this week hoping for a bailout loan.

The tweet, deleted within hours of being posted last week, lists four different bank accounts that those abroad can send “much needed foreign exchange to”. The accounts were listed in the US, Germany and London.

“CBSL assures that such foreign currency transfers will be utilised only for essential imports including food, fuel and medicines,” it added.

However, in the wake of a muted response from Tamil diaspora groups, the tweet was deleted.

“Most of the recognised Tamil diaspora organisations are prescribed in Sri Lanka,” Bhavan Bhavaguhan from the Global Tamil Forum told the Times of India. “Isn’t it incredible that the same government wants the same proscribed diaspora members and organisations to bring foreign currency to their rescue?”

The call from the CBSL came just weeks after the Sri Lankan president personally claimed to welcome the global Tamil diaspora to invest in the cash-stricken country.

Many Tamils across the world, however, remained wary - particularly as corruption, human rights abuses and repression of the Tamil people continues on the island.

"This is all just a farce," Theepan*, a Tamil rights activist based in Switzerland told the Tamil Guardian. ​“After forcing us out of our homeland, torturing, raping and killing us, now the Sri Lankan state needs our help."

Read more in our feature: ‘Oppress us with one hand and plead for our money with the other’ - Tamil diaspora reacts Rajapaksa's investment offer

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