A group of inmates of the Sri Lankan refugee camp at Chengalpattu in Kancheepuram district are on an indefinite hunger strike seeking a transfer to ‘open camps’ and some to return to Sri Lanka.
‘Q’ Branch and Revenue Department sources told Indian Express that the refugees were on the sixth day of their hunger strike. The sources said the demands have been forwarded to the collector, who will later forward it to the government.
Interestingly, apart from those seeking to shift to open camps from the detention camp, there are many in the Chengalpattu facility who wish to go back to Sri Lanka ever since the end of the conflict.
Fifty-five-year-old Sadasivam is one of the six inmates who have sent petitions seeking permission to go back to Sri Lanka. He is also taking part in the hunger strike seeking transfer to open camps.
Sadasivam told Express that he longs to go back to Lanka after spending 14 years in India. Sadasivam, who was picked up from Velankanni, has spent six months in Tiruchy jail and over a year at Chengalpattu camp.
According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) a growing number of Sri Lanka refugees are returning home in less than two years after the end of the decades-long conflict.
During the first three months of 2011, a total of Sri Lankan refugees returned, mainly to Trincomalee and Mannar, UNHCR said.
These figures show a rise compared with the period same period last year, which saw the voluntary return of some 400 individuals.