Fast-unto-Death in Sri Lankan Refugee Camp

CampTIRUVANNAMALAI : Sri Lankan refugees in the special camp separated from their families have sought to be reunited with their loves ones and are staging a hunger protest to get their demands fulfilled. R Dinakaran, 32, (name changed) and his family abandoned their house that was under construction in the hope of a better future in India. But things have gone awry after he and his family landed on the shores of Rameswaram three months ago.

“I last saw my wife, our 13-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son on May 7.  Since I was detained in the special camp, I do not know the whereabouts of my family. I do not know if my  children are going to school or locked up in one of the camps,” Dinakaran told Express.  He was one of the beneficiaries of India’s free housing scheme for Lankan Tamils in Mullaitivu. He and 24 other refugees are on a fast-unto-death to draw the attention of the UN.

“Two other Lankan Tamils  in the camp are also clueless about the whereabouts of their families. We have not even heard a word from them despite repeated petitions to the Collector,” said another Lankan Tamil. The Foreigners Act, under which they were detained, the inmates said, doesn’t say that the detainee should be separated from his family.

The inmates also claimed that they had been in the camp for more than three months but the police was yet to file a charge sheet.