Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Tuesday, February 23, 1999 Published at 16:11 GMT

World: South Asia

Tamils demand better treatment

Tamil tea pickers are among the worst paid workers in India

An organisation campaigning for the Indian Tamil community in Sri Lanka has called on the government to clamp down on alleged acts of discrimination and violence against them.

The Indian Tamil network has written to President Chandrika Kumaratunga calling for greater police efforts over an arson attack against Tamils six months ago.

The Indian Tamil network has called for more effort to find and punish the group responsible for attacking homes on a tea plantation in the southern Ratnapura district last September.

400 homes burned down

The incident began when local villagers decided to take revenge for the killing of a trader from the majority Sinhalese community.

More than 400 homes belonging to Indian Tamils on the tea plantation were destroyed, and the workers escaped by taking refuge in the tea factory.

Only two people have been arrested so far in connection with the arson attacks.

The local MP, Mr Rajan, said police were powerless as the tea worker victims were too scared to come forward because they feared further reprisals.

Those affected were given money for temporary shelters and their homes are being rebuilt, but many said they wanted to leave the area altogether.

Lowest paid workers

Indian Tamils were originally brought to Sri Lanka by the British colonialists to work on the tea plantations and were only granted full citizenship 10 years ago.

They are among the lowest paid workers in the country - with a tea picker earning less than two dollars a day.

Their representatives have also called for affirmative action to ensure proper education, health facilities and work opportunities for them.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

31 Jan 99 | South Asia
Upsurge in Sri Lanka fighting

05 Dec 98 | South Asia
Thousands flee Sri Lankan fighting

30 Sep 98 | Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's unwinnable war

Internet Links

Sri Lankan Government Information Department


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Sharif: I'm innocent

India's malnutrition 'crisis'

Tamil rebels consolidate gains

From Sport
Saqlain stars in Aussie collapse

Pakistan fears Afghan exodus

Hindu-Buddhist conference in Nepal

Afghan clerics issue bin Laden fatwa

Culture awards at Asian festival

Gandhi pleads for husband's killer

UN condemns Afghan bombing

Gandhi prize for Bangladeshi