An often unseen population, a section of which exist in relative anonymity, are the close to hundred thousand refugees from Sri Lanka in the South Indian State of Tamil Nadu, residents of which share linguistic and ethnic attributes with these refugees. The exodus of the ethnic Tamil population from Sri Lanka commenced in early 1980s and continued more or less till 2013, even after the end of the war in 2009. The majority of this refugee population is housed in 107 refugee camps across the State. However, it is those Tamil refugees who are languishing in three highly guarded “special camps” as suspected members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam who are the focus of this article. The inmates of these camps exist under a cloak of invisibility due to their unique status, with even the basic rights enjoyed by the ordinary prisoners in other detention facilities denied to them. This article argues that the lack of international law obligations and domestic policies have helped the Government of India to sustain a state of limbo resulting in the said individuals being treated according to the whims of the Government in power.

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