25 July, 2021

The Politics Of Dislocation

The fresh influx of Lankan refugees could be a diplomatic minefield for the Indian Government

The Politics Of Dislocation

"You want events, numbers, case histories?  Not now please, because my mind is strangled I know it's strange, but, that is what I feel  That is what we live  Pain, agony and fear—always fear  I ask you, could you write straight  When people die in lots?  When you find them dead like flies..."

THIS poem written by Rajani Thiranagama, the founder of the University Teachers for Human Rights, Jaffna, who was assassinated in 1989—succinctly summarises the fresh influx of refugees into Tamil Nadu from war-torn Sri Lanka. While the present flow of 1,000 refugees is almost a trickle compared to the three lakh deluge of the '80s, it has other ramifications that could alter the politics of Tamil Nadu.

After the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, there was virtually no influx of refugees into India. The increased hostilities across the border were seen largely as 'an internal problem' and the Government of India decided to follow a hands-off approach towards the ethnic crisis in the island. Subsequently, the capture of Jaffna peninsula by the Sri...

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