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'Grant Indian citizenship for Lankan refugees if willing'

Press Trust of India  |  Chennai 

Sri Lankan refugees should be sent back to the island nation only if they were willing to do so and government should not hesitate to grant them Indian citizenship if they have opted to remain here, TNCC president today said.

"In my opinion, if they (Lankan refugees) are willing to get Indian citizenship after having spent so many years in this country, we should not hesitated to give them Indian citizenship," he told reporters here.

Elangovan said Lankan refugees living here should not be sent back unless they were willing to return as many were apprehensive whether they would be able to lead a normal life once they return.

"Conditions are getting back to normalcy in Lanka to some extent. Once they completely get better, we shall send them back to Lanka if they are willing," he said.

On the fuel price cut effected by government yesterday, he said it was very less.

in the international market had reduced by almost 60 per cent, which should have led to petrol and diesel being priced at Rs 44 and Rs 34, he said.

Alleging that Tamil Nadu government has decided to close down the more than a century old Dr Ambedkar Government Law College in Madras High Court campus, he said the decision was "bad and without justice".

Instead of doing so, steps should be taken to improve infrastructure like classrooms and library, he said.

To another question, he said the focus of the district level functionaries meeting here was on the membership drive, which would be on till this month end.

Stating that the party did not have a target for memberships, he said, "We would not register members through online or through a missed call, but meet people in person in villages and ask them to join as members."

Senior leader Mukul Wasnik would participate in the state executive committee meeting on February 7, while plans were on to invite Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi for a function in Tamil Nadu soon, he added.

When asked about recent developments in the party, in which differences between him and former Union Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti came out in the open, he said, "It is a closed chapter".

To persistent questions on whether he wanted them out of Congress, he said, "There are so many fathers and son duo in the party... I did not mention who. In fact me and my son ourselves are a father and son duo."

Elangovan, who had issued a showcause notice to Karti seeking explanation for criticising the party high command, had last month made an indirect attack against him and his father.

Soon after former union minister Jayanthi Natarajan quit Congress, he in an apparent reference to the Chidambarams had said, "Tamil Nadu Congress will certainly attain salvation if one more person quits along with his heir".

First Published: Wed, February 04 2015. 14:20 IST