500 Tamils have taken refuge in the last 2 months: TN CM

Place: Tmil Nadu | Courtesy: Indian Express
| Date: 20000626

TIRUCHIRAPPALLI: Nearly 500 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees had landed in Tamil Nadu in the last two months since the escalation of conflict between the Army and LTTE in the island Republic,Tamil Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said today.

Talking to newsmen here, Karunanidhi said in the last one year, the state had received about 1200 refugees, apart from the nearly 60,000 persons who had sought refuge over a period of time.

The Chief Minister said the Centre was meeting the entire expenditure towards their maintenance and the state was rendering the requisite cooperation. To a query, he said there were some problems in bringing to Indian mainland refugees who were being dropped by illegal ferry operators in small islets 'within Sri Lankan waters'.

On the criticism levelled by some opposition leaders that the loan extend by India would be utilised by Sri Lanka only for purchase of arms and ammunitions, he said it was nothing but humanitarian assistance offered to a neighbouring country.

When his reaction was sought to a reported remark made by PMK leader Dr S Ramadoss that some restrictions were being imposed in the state on talking or acting on the Tamil Eelam (a separate state for Tamils in Sri Lanka) issue, Karunanidhi said his government was particular about maintaining extreme caution whenever issues were raised on sensitive topics such as a banned organisation. He clarified that the intention was not curb Ramadoss' rights of speech or writing. PTI