Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamils - a Trans State Nation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Indictment against Sri Lanka> Sri Lanka's Continued Ethnic Cleansing  2009... - after Tamil Armed Resistance Ends...  > the Record Speaks....  


Sri Lanka's Continued Ethnic Cleansing ...
 - after Tamil Armed Resistance Ended on 17 May 2009

 - the Record Speaks...

CHENNAI: More than 60 inmates of Chengalpattu Sri Lankan refugee camp in Kancheepuram district on Wednesday went on an indefinite hunger strike demanding their immediate release.

Most of the inmates, in 20s and 30s, have been languishing in the camp for more than three years. They have been picked by the Q branch for trying to smuggle consignments to LTTE and some on the basis of suspicion.

This is the 20th time the inmates are on a hunger strike.

�This time we are going on an indefinite fast,� the inmates said, handing out a signed copy of the list of detainees in the camp.

�We will only talk to political representatives not government officials. We held talks with government officials in the past but it was of no avail as our plight has worsened. We will hold talks only with the chief minister, ministers or politicians in the chief minister�s family including DMK MP Kanimozhi,� they said.

�The war has ended in Sri Lanka but our struggle is unending.

In Sri Lanka, after the war may be there is some hope for Eelam Tamils, but in India there is no hope for the refugees and the Chengalpattu camp is an example,� says Satish.

�In most of the cases, police didn�t file any chargesheet. They even don�t attempt to take the cases to their logical conclusion,� Satish told Express.

�Since we are going to be confined to the camp, there is no pressure on the police to take the case to conclusion. For minor crimes, many of us are spending more than five years in the camp,� inmates allege.

�There are some whose cases have ended and are denied permission to join their relatives in the open camp. They are not even allowed to go abroad,� 21-year-old Vishwa says.

�We should be sent to the open camp and we want to stay with our families,� demand most of the Sri Lankans who fled to India in the 90s. �Mahinda Rajapakse set up a camp in Lanka where Tamils are tortured or detained illegally. Similar thing is happening in Chengalpattu camp,� he said..

�Even our families and children are struggling in the open camp but there is no sympathy from the officials,� the inmates say. �If we are kept in the camp for too long, we will go insane,� the inmates said.

�Most of the inmates are sick. There is also a mentally ill patient. The authorities aren�t providing him with any healthcare,� rues an inmate, who doesn�t want to be named.

As most of them squat outside demanding their immediate release, many confide they have lost hope and faith of ever meeting their families, who are ekeing out a living working as labourers in open refugee camps.

More than 85 people are detained in the camp which was set up in 1993. As on September 2008, there are 72,889 refugees, belonging to 19,296 families, in 117 camps spread throughout the State.

Another Guantanamo Bay in the making

It looked like another Guantanamo Bay as inmates, some mentally ill, some disabled with one hand and one leg, are losing hope disillusioned by their long incarceration in Chengalpattu refugee camp.

Nearly 86 of them are locked in a small campus which has 32 cells without basic amenities.

�We live in the 25 cells. Other seven cells are used for other things, including cooking food.� Some of the unfortunate souls who find themselves caught in a trap, from which there seems to be no escape, are willing to share their bitter experiences.

Among those is soft-spoken Sivakaran who shows the photograph of his family and then shares his trauma.

Sivakaran fled war-ravaged Sri Lanka to eke out a living to support his family in January 2007. His family was based in Jaffna.

�I didn�t have anything to support them so I escaped to India to find a decent job,� he says.

But his miseries did not end in India. He was picked up by the police on suspicion and was sent to the refugee camp.

His family which was dependent on the sole breadwinner then shifted to Mulaitivu during the war. It was on March 26 he lost contact with his family.

Then came the tragic news.

His wife Shymala (32), children � Swarnan, 12, Tulasi, 10, Puvithajini, 5 � all perished in a Sri Lankan air raid.

�I am not able to accept their death. I can�t share my grief.

Life has been hell for me. I am suffering from TB. It is more than two-and-a-half years I am arrested but the case is being postponed. If there is no solution to this, I will end my life in jail,� he says.

Sivakaran is not the lone one to undergo the tragedy, many have lost their near and dear ones. And they have themselves to console as their link to the outside world is cut off.

Most of the inmates have been shifted from Puzhal, Madurai, Tirichy, Palayamkotai and other parts of Tamil Nadu to the camp.

�Now the war has ended, why are we detained for so long,� says Vishwa (name changed), who nearly lost the hope of ever seeing his mother and his two brothers who are spending their days in abject penury in an open camp in Tamil Nadu.

�I went to visit the temple in Rameswaram when I was picked up by the cops. I am the eldest in the family. I don�t know how the family is making their ends meet,� says the 21-year-old, who has spent nearly three years in the jail.


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