Anguished by what they say is New Delhi’s apathy, Indians jailed in Sri Lanka want Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa to intervene and seek their extradition to India.
A spokesman for 34 Indian prisoners — 27 from Tamil Nadu and seven from Kerala — said they were being ignored though India and Sri Lanka signed a pact in June on exchange of sentenced convicts.
An almost sobbing Indian prisoner told IANS over mobile telephone that while Pakistanis and Maldivians have managed to go home thanks to their governments, the Indian establishment appeared unconcerned about them.
“Is it because we come from Kerala and Tamil Nadu and so no one in Delhi is interested in us?” asked the prisoner. “Yes, we committed crime and are in jail. But is there not an agreement that can take us to India?”
He was referring to the agreement Colombo and New Delhi signed during Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to India in June that calls for exchange of sentenced prisoners between the two countries.
The plight of the Indians in Sri Lankan jails, including in Ngombo and Anuradhapura, has been raised in the Indian parliament. But the prisoners say nothing is moving in their favour.
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