Nalini Kirubakaran poses after casting her vote
Nalini Kirubakaran poses after casting her vote(Photo | Express)

Sri Lankan Tamil casts her first vote in Tiruchy

“I don’t have words to express my feelings. Voting for the first time, I feel I have come out of my past now,” said Nalini.

TIRUCHY: Nalini Kirubakaran, a 38-year-old at the rehabilitation camp for Sri Lankan Tamils in Tiruchy, became the first naturalised Indian citizen from the Kottapattu camp to vote in a general election on Friday.

It was a dream come true moment for Nalini on polling day as she would have never expected cameras following her from the refugee camp to the polling booth at MM Middle School, near the airport, where she cast her vote.

“I don’t have words to express my feelings. Voting for the first time, I feel I have come out of my past now,” said Nalini.

The journey from being a refugee in a land where she was born to becoming first member of her community to get voting rights took two years of legal battle as her application for an Indian passport was rejected by a regional passport office in 2021. In September 2022, Nalini had established before the Madras High Court that she was an Indian citizen.

Nalini was born in 1986 at the Mandapam camp for Lankan refugees in Rameswaram. She was granted citizenship as the year of her birth fell between January 26, 1950 and July 1, 1987, a period that made those born in India eligible for automatic naturalisation as Indians.

She is currently residing in Kottapattu camp as her family hasn’t received Indian citizenship. Nalini wants all other refugees of the camp to enjoy the same rights.

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