Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and national award winning lyricist Vairamuthu on Tuesday batted for providing citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in the country for more than three decades.
While Ravi Shankar wanted the Centre to consider giving citizenship to over a lakh Tamil refugees, Vairamuthu said the latter should be seen as "human beings who have lost their land."
In a tweet, Ravi Shankar said, "I request the Government of India to consider giving citizenship to more than one lakh Tamil Sri Lankans who are living in this country as refugees for the last 35 years. #CABBill."
The plea from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Vairamuthu to the Centre comes a day after the Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill. According to the proposed legislation, members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan by December 31, 2014 and faced religious persecution in those countries, will not be treated as illegal immigrants and given Indian citizenship.
In a tweet, Vairamuthu said the Lankan refugees should not be seen as "citizens of a neighbouring country." "Will the Citizenship Amendment Bill show humanity by considering the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees as human beings who had lost their land," he said in a tweet in Tamil.
Tamil Nadu has a significant number of Sri Lankan Tamils living in various parts of the state, including in government camps. Many of them had fled Sri Lanka during the ethnic strife in the 1980s.