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Tamil Nadu prepares for influx of Eelam Tamil refugees

Tamil Nadu prepares itself for the arrival of more Eelam Tamil refugees as the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka pushes civilians into abject poverty.

Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu MK Stalin has issued directives urging several government departments to be prepared to see the arrival of more Eelam Tamils. According to a senior bureaucrat, the Chief Minister has directed state officials to take a “benevolent view of the refugees”. Stalin has also previously met with Prime Minister Modi and expressed a desire to provide aid to Tamils.

Most recently an Eelam family of four arrived in Tamil Nadu and are expected to be sent to a refugee camp at Mandapam. Kishanthan told reporters that the economic crisis has deprived him and his family of essentials, stating that for several days the family had to sleep without food. Kishanthan added that India should expect more refugees from Sri Lanka as many on the island are jobless and struggling to acquire basic necessities.

In late March around 16 Eelam Tamils arrived in India in an effort to flee the deteriorating economic crisis. Three adults amongst those who arrived were detained and sentenced to 15 days at Puzal Central Prison. Many Eelam Tamils in Tamil Nadu refugee camps continue to live in difficult conditions with little to no support. Currently, the Sri Lankan rupee is the worst-performing currency in the world.

Activists have called on the Indian government to grant refugee status to those fleeing the island on humanitarian grounds.

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