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Indian diaspora influences Sri Lankan Tamils in Britain to demand for Ministry of Overseas Sri Lankans

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New Delhi: Impressed by what India has done for its large diaspora, influential Sri Lankan Tamils have come together in Britain to seek from Colombo a “Ministry of Overseas Sri Lankans”.

The newly formed Non-Resident Tamils of Sri Lanka (NRTSL) also wants special status for the children of the people of Sri Lankan origin “similar to that granted to the overseas citizens of India”.

The NRTSL is the latest Tamil grouping to be formed in Britain, which is home to more than 300,000 Tamils from the island nation and where once pro-LTTE feelings ran high.

“We realise the need for a new group within our community because the present day diaspora activism has new dimensions,” a senior member of the group who did not wish to be identified by name told IANS.

“We are impressed by what the Indian state has done for its diaspora,” he said, “and what the Indian diaspora has achieved.”

Many of those associated with NRTSL are leading professionals in various fields. They have already met and exchanged views with several British and Sri Lankan political leaders.

Besides a “Ministry of Overseas Sri Lankans”, the outfit is demanding a “Department of Overseas Sri Lankans” – to engage with the non-resident Sri Lankans.

“We are inspired by the constructive role played by the Non-Resident Indian organisations and the institutional mechanisms and arrangements created by the Indian state to harness the expatriate resources,” the Tamil source said.

The NRTSL’s founder members feel that the attitudes of extremists from both the Tamil and Sinhalese communities have, to a great extent, stigmatized the term “Tamil diaspora”.

This, they say, is one of the main reasons preventing a positive engagement between the Tamil diaspora and the Sri Lankan state, which is dominated by the Sinhalese community.

For long years when it fought for an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam forced most diaspora members to toe its line.

The decimation of the LTTE in May 2009 opened up space within the diaspora community, including in Britain.

But over the years, most Sri Lankans, particularly the Sinhalese, began to view the Tamil diaspora as an extension of pro-LTTE politics.

“We think that the ‘Sri Lankan government-versus-Tamil diaspora’ label is fundamentally flawed,” the Tamil source told IANS. “There is a need to recalibrate the relationship between Sri Lankan communities.”

The new group wants Sri Lanka to grant dual citizenship to overseas Sri Lankans, invite non-residents to invest in Sri Lanka to take part in the task of nation building – a la India.

It desires that overseas Sri Lankans, Tamils included, should get legal rights to buy land, houses, retirement homes and holiday homes as well as to inherit property in Sri Lanka.

Although the NRTSL was formally launched on May 31 in London, its founding leaders have already held meetings with new Sri Lankan President Maitripala Sirisena.

It is also reaching out to members of the Sinhalese and Muslim communities from Sri Lanka living abroad as well as other Tamil groups. (IANS)

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Another Royal Affair, Princess Eugenie Ties The Knot

Eugenie, ninth in the line of succession to the throne, is the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

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Princess Eugenie
Princess Eugenie wedding. Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank on the steps of St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding.

Princess Eugenie of York, the British Queen’s granddaughter, on Friday tied the knot with her long-term partner in a grand ceremony at the Windsor castle attended by 850 guests, including most members of the UK’s royal family.

The dean of Windsor’s St. George’s Chapel, Reverend David Conner, officiated the ritual that wed the princess, 28, to tequila executive Jack Brooksbank, 32, whom she met during a skiing trip in 2010, the BBC reported.

Princess Eugenie
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s royal wedding.

Friday’s star-studded guest list included celebrities from all walks of life, such as musicians (Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and English singers Robbie Williams and Ellie Goulding), models like Cara Delevigne and Naomi Campbell, actors and comedians like Stephen Fry, Liv Tyler, Jack Whitehall and Jimmy Carr and elite fashion designer David Emanuel.

“It is in the presence of the God of love shown to us in Jesus Christ that Eugenie and Jack have made their vows, confident that even our fragile human loving can be a merciful ingredient in a loving God’s providential operation in an often all-too-troubled world,” were Conner’s words before the couple formally became spouses.

Princess Eugenie
This is the second royal wedding held at Windsor.

This is the second royal wedding held at Windsor so far this year, after the nuptials of Prince Harry (Eugenie’s cousin) and Meghan Markle on May 19.

Also Read: US, Britain Step Up In Order To Tackle FGM

Another 1,200 people who had won a ballot were able to attend a live broadcast in the castle grounds despite the strong winds, while thousands more thronged outside the gates.

Eugenie, ninth in the line of succession to the throne, is the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York (the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and her consort, Prince Philip) and Sarah Ferguson. (IANS)