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16 Sri Lankan refugees reach TN after economic crisis in the island nation

- March 23, 2022

Chennai, March 23 (BPNS)

With Sri Lankan staring at an unprecedented economic crisis, the refugee flow to  Tamil Nadu has commenced with 16 refugees reaching the shores of the state on Tuesday in two batches.

While 6 people including a husband, wife and their 4 months old son and a woman and her six and twelve year old children arrived on Tuesday afternoon, the rest arrived late night.

In Sri Lanka there is a high financial crisis with prices of essential commodities including milk and rice sky rocketing, petrol and diesel not available and power stations shut. Schools are not holding examinations due to lack of paper for printing question papers.

It may be noted that the Civil war in the early 1980’s triggered  an inflow of people from Sri Lanka and now around 60,000 refugees are living in 107 camps spread across Tamil Nadu and about 30,000 more live outside these camps or in general society.

The first batch of six refugees who arrived in the state are R. Gajendran( 24) ,his wife Mary (23) and their four month old son Nijath. Dony Ariston (31) and her two sons, Esther ( 12) and Moses (6) also accompanied Gajendran’s family.  Dony has left behind her husband in Sri Lanka while traversing to India as refugee.

Interacting with reporters at Madurai, the Gajendran and the two women said that they don’t have any jobs in Sri Lanka and essential commodities are not available while in blackmarket prices are unaffordable. They also said that long quaes are formed in fuel stations to get a little of petrol or diesel.

They also said that they had paid an amount of Rs 50,000 to a boatman who had dropped them on early morning of Tuesday at a sand dume near Rameswaram and was later rescued by the Indian coast guard. Ten other people who have reached Tamil Nadu on late evening of Tuesday but their details are not available.

Police sources told BPNS that the refugees would be produced before a court in Ramanathapuram on Wednesday.