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Displaced Sri Lankan Tamils

On 18 October 2018, Dr. Diotima Chattoraj presented a FASS seminar titled ‘Ambivalent Attachments: Shifting Notions of Home among Displaced Sri Lankan Tamils'.


Dr. Chattoraj spoke about the Sri Lankan Tamil Displaced Persons who migrated out of their places of origin due to the 26 years long ethnic conflict (1983-2009) which was fought between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). She presented the undocumented relationship of the Tamil displaced persons to their “Ur” and the degree of attachment they have to their homes

In addition, the speaker also shared her experiences of her field-visit to Colombo and Jaffna in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu in India in early 2013. Later on, she elaborated on her analysis and evaluation, for which she applied ‘Grounded Theory’.

Finally, she concluded her presentation arguing, “most of the displaced persons feel intense attachment to their Ur through memories, emotions and material and immaterial properties. However, meanings of home and attachment have changed with time and priorities resulting in the development of contrasting meanings of the two concepts”.


The Case of Sri Lanka : Present situation in the northern province

  • 891,125 IDPs resettled (by 31st October 2017).
  • 40,938 IDPs are yet to be resettled.
  • 2,998 IDPs are left in 32 welfare centers in Jaffna district.
  • Many well-established have settled either in Colombo or abroad.
  • Returnees in Jaffna are finding it difficult to cope with the new environment as everything has changed.

The Case of India : Present situation

  • Migration of 304,269 Tamil refugees.
  • Presently, 107 refugee camps are housing 64,208 refugees (as of 2018).
  • 27 persons are in 2 special camps.
  • 34,757 persons are regarded as Non-camp refugees staying outside the camps.
  • Since 1987, at regular intervals, refugees are returning.
  • Quite a large number are traveling to Australia illegaly.