Award winning Tamil poet 'blacklisted' in Sri Lanka

Sanctions against leading Tamil poet VIS Jayapalan entering his country of origin has not been lifted despite Sri Lanka publicly claiming that the poet is welcome in the country, JDS can reveal.

Following an earlier exposure by JDS that a visa application by the poet has been turned down by immigration authorities, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has told Colombo based Sri Lanka Mirror that he is extending Jayapalan an 'open invitation' to visit Sri Lanka.

Jayapalan was planning to visit the island to attend the launch of his latest book in the northern town of Tamil speaking Jaffna.

Following the intervention by the foreign minister, a senior official of the Sri Lanka high commission in India has contacted Jayapalan and asked to re-apply.

Jayapalan has in turn requested the high commission to respond to his original visa application.

Sri Lanka's representatives in India have initially rejected Jayapalan's original application writing that he is in possession of a resident visa.

'I am someone who was arrested and deported once from the place I was born. How can I hold a Sri Lankan resident visa?" said Jayapalan.

Appeal to Sinhalese

When requested to explain the inconsistency, the official has revealed that the actual reason to bar the poet's entry to Sri Lanka is due to his passport been 'blacklisted' in 2013 following his deportation while visiting his ancestral village.

"The foreign minister who invited me to the country should first remove me from this blacklist and instruct officials to stamp the said resident visa in my passport," Jayapalan told JDS.

Furthermore, he made an open appeal to the Sinhala literati and civil activists to intervene in bringing him home.

If they continue to remain silent on this issue, it will be proper to assume that the approach to his 'Tamilness' has not changed even within the intellectual discourse of the south, said Jayapalan.

"If that is the case, I will spend the rest of my life in the same manner without attempting to reach such a place," he told JDS in a highly distressed tone.



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.