South Indian politicians visit refugee camps in Sri Lanka

13:17, October 12, 2009      

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The group of political party representatives from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu visited to the island's refugee camps in northern Sri Lanka on Sunday, officials said.

The 10-member delegation who are on a 5-day fact-finding mission about the state of Tamil internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in government maintained camps visited the northern town of Jaffna and the IDPs camps in Vavuniya.

They represent Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi who was accused by the Sri Lankan authorities as siding with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which was defeated by the troops in May.

"Chief Minister Karunanidhi takes interest on the plight of the IDPs," V. R. Balu, the head of the delegation told reporters.

Balu said Karunanidhi has invited attention of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the ruling party leader Sonia Gandhi on Sri Lanka's IDP issues.

Sri Lankan Tamil minority has links with the 65 million Tamils in Tamil Nadu.

During the last stages of the government's military campaign against the LTTE, Tamil Nadu brought in extensive pressure on Sri Lanka to halt military operations in the north.

About 250,000 civilians were displaced by the final battles between the troops and the LTTE.

Based on claims that the minority Tamils were being discriminated by the majority Sinhalese dominated governments, the LTTE had been fighting for more than two decades to carve out an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east before it was defeated.

Source: Xinhua
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