Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Friday said 3,000 Tamil refugees in India have volunteered to go back to the island nation and their return should happen in the next few months.
There are around 90,000 Tamil refugees in India. Sources have said Sri Lanka could take back as many as 60,000. The other 30,000 now have families or work in India and some have also been naturalised so may not head back to Sri Lanka.
As for the confidence building efforts before repatriation, the Minister said that there was an established organisation led by Chandra Hasan in Jaffna that has been closely working with refugees and are facilitating efforts on the ground and also monitoring the process.
As for when the other refugees would make their way back, he said, “these are citizens who are returning and the process of reconciliation is also an important matter in which India has been giving us support to expedite so the numbers will be moving as per the agreement and understanding.”
The issue of fishermen and confiscated boats was also discussed.