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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Tamil Refugees & Asylum Seekers > India deports Tamil Asylum Seeker Eelaventhan to Sri Lanka, 6 December 2000
6 December 2000
[see also One Hundred
Tamils of the 20th Century - M.K.Eelaventhan and
Report on Conditions for Tamils in Refugee Camp in Vellore, Tamil Nadu]
"Indian Government authorities in Tamil Nadu have deported the leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Front, Mr. Eelaventhan, to Colombo on Monday where, it can be reasonably presumed, his life is at stake. Indian intelligence personnel managed to lay hands on him last Monday while he was asleep at his residence around 5 a.m. Official government sources declared that he was illegally residing in the country while in possession of papers which had already expired.
Mr. Eelaventhan sought asylum, together with his family, in Tamil Nadu in 1981 after the Sri Lankan government subjected him to torture. He was an active member of the Tamil United Liberation Front when he was living in Sri Lanka. He formed a non-political organization, with the sole purpose of helping Tamils of Tamil Eelam, on his arrival in Tamil Nadu.
He constantly sought the support of Tamils in Tamil Nadu during his residence there. He was never involved in illegal activities; nevertheless, the Indian government arrested him in 1997 on a charge of smuggling medical supplies to Tamil Eelam where the inhabitants have been suffering due to the scarcity of medicines, food, and other essential provisions. In the ensuing trial, he was found to be innocent and therefore acquitted.
Several parties in Tamil Nadu, including the Dravidar Kazhagam, condemned the decision to repatriate the Eelam leader as an inhuman act. The parties concerned declared in diverse statements that the Indian government should not deport Tamils when they sought asylum in a democratic country. Asylum seekers arrived from areas in Sri Lanka where Tamils are being tortured and killed by the armed forces, they added.
Human rights organizations say that many countries have accepted and harbored refugee-status claimants of Tamil Eelam on the grounds laid down in the United Nations Charter as they are/have been facing great danger in the hands of the Sri Lankan armed forces. However, some countries, it is said, while claiming to be democratic, have not upheld the fair and just Charter of the United Nations.
According to the UN Charter, refugees should not be placed in a position to approach their countries' embassies. As refugees, they would not understandably wish to appeal to their diplomatic representatives in order to have their passports renewed, especially after having escaped and after having opted not to live in their own countries, legal commentators observed."