Grant citizenship to Tamils: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said it was India`s responsibility to see that on "humanitarian" grounds the Lankan Tamil refugees get their due rights.

Updated: Sep 30, 2012, 08:54 AM IST

Chennai: Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Saturday said the Centre and state government must take steps to make thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils, living as refugees in camps across Tamil Nadu, Indian citizens.

"Sri Lankan Tamils living in India as refugees for more than 25-30 years is not something Tamil Nadu can be proud about," he told reporters here, referring to those from Bangladesh and Nepal who have got Indian citizenship.

Contending that it was India`s responsibility to see that on "humanitarian" grounds the Lankan Tamil refugees get their due rights and able to work, he said "We cannot see these people forever in camps."

Elaborating on his organisation `The Art of Living` contribution to this cause, he said it was running a signature campaign and has already got more than eight lakh signatures.

"We want to get at least a crore signatures, before we give it to the Centre and state government."

"We have done that (giving citizenship) to a lot of Bangladeshis... And people from Nepal as well.... When that is the case, why can`t we give it to Tamils from Lanka?," he asked.

Asked about the stand-off between Centre and anti-nuke activists over commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu, he said, "I go with the opinion of Abdul Kalam, our former president. He is an authority on the nuclear field. I know he cares for our people. He will not do anything that is of vested interests."

Kalam had vouched for the safety of the plant. Anti-nuclear activists had stepped up protests following the regulatory authority`s clearance for loading of uranium fuel in the reactor.

Asked whether he was behind the split between anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal, he said, "I have only made bridges and not tried to split anybody. Even now I am ready to build bridges between them."