Indian prisoners in Sri Lanka seek help from Jayalalithaa

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New Delhi, Nov 3: Indians Jailed in SriLanka on Friday (today) requested Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa to intervene and seek their extradition to India.

A spokesperson, speaking on behalf of 34 prisoners, which include 27 from Tamil Nadu and seven from Kerala said that, they were being ignored though India and Sri Lanka signed an agreement during Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit to India in June this year that calls for exchange of sentenced prisoners between the two countries.

The spokesperson expressed happiness as Pakistan and Maldivians have managed to go home in support of their governments, but criticised Indian government for showing ignorance towards the Indian prisoners in SriLanka.

"Is it because we come from Kerala and Tamil Nadu and so no one in Delhi is interested in us?" asked the prisoner adding, "Yes, we committed crime and are in jail. But is there not an agreement that can take us to India?"

"We are not asking for favours; we are not demanding freedom," said the prisoner. "All we are saying is implement the agreement and put us in jail in India.

"Sir, we too are humans. We also want to see our families occasionally. It can happen only if we are in India. Is that too much to ask for?"

The prisoner, speaking on a borrowed mobile telephone, said he and his compatriots believed that if there was one Indian leader who could take up their cause to its logical conclusion, it was Jayalalithaa.

"The Tamil Nadu chief minister is our hope. The Indian government has let us down. The way she speaks for Indian fishermen has convinced us that she alone can provide us relief." "We want the chief minister to intervene and help us," he said.

Indians in Sri Lanka have been convicted over various crimes including drug smuggling. At least one has been in jail for 18 long years. Many have put in about 10 years. Meanwhile, prisoners are suffering physically and emotionally.

Former Indian High Commissioner to SriLanka, Gopalkrishna Gandhi had freed six female Indian prisoners from SriLanka. The prisoner said it was interesting that New Delhi went out of its way to ensure justice to Indians jailed in Pakistan.

"Why this discrimination? This is why we want the Tamil Nadu chief minister to take up our cause. We feel she can succeed where others have failed," said the prisoner.

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