Sri Lankans in India

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Sri Lankans in India
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Tamil Nadu~120,000[2]
Kerala[4]~700 families[3]
Delhi~1,100[citation needed]
Maharashtra~400[citation needed]
Andaman and Nicobar Islands~200[citation needed]
Tamil, Sinhala, English
Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, Buddhism
Related ethnic groups
Sri Lankan

Sri Lankans in India mainly refer to Tamil people of Sri Lankan origin in India and non resident Sri Lankans. They are partly who migrated to India and their descendants and mostly refugees from Sri Lanka because of the recently concluded Sri Lankan Civil War. There is also a small population of Sinhalese people in India, numbering about 3,500 and mostly located in Delhi and Chennai.


Early arrivals[edit]

During 19th century and early 20th century some Sri Lankan Tamils especially from Jaffna migrated or settled in India for various reasons such as education, employment in the British Indian government, business and other reasons.

Sri Lankan refugees[edit]

The Sri Lankan refugees arrived in Tamil Nadu in four waves. The first wave on 24 July 1983, after Black July, to the 29 July 1987 up until the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, 134,053 Sri Lankan Tamils arrived in India. The first repatriation took place after the signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord in 1987 and between 24 December 1987 and 31 August 1989, 25,585 refugees and non-camp Sri Lankan nationals returned to Sri Lanka. The second wave began with the start of Eelam War II after 25 August 1989, where 122,000 Sri Lankan Tamils came to Tamil Nadu. On 20 January 1992, after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi 54,188 refugees were voluntarily repatriated to Sri Lanka, until March 1995. Eelam War III commenced in April 1995 starting the third wave or refugees. By 12 April 2002, nearly 23,356 refugees had come to Tamil Nadu. The flow of refugees had stopped in 2002 because of the cease fire agreement.[6]


A Sinhalese man in Mumbai, India, 1897
Mulagandhakuti Vihara, Sri Lankan Buddhist temple at Sarnath

Tamil people[edit]

Sri Lankan Tamils in India number in the hundreds of thousands, mostly in the state of Tamil Nadu, the closest state to Sri Lanka and the easiest to get to. There is also a considerable amount in the city of Trivandrum, with around 2700 refugee families.[2][3] There are also a number of Sri Lankan Tamils in the eastern regions of Orissa, Karnataka and Pondicherry.

Sinhalese people[edit]

There are a small amount of Sinhalese people in India, scattered all around the country, but mainly living in and around the northern and southern regions. Delhi has the largest concentration Sinhalese people in north india with 1,100, the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra have 5800 and 400 respectively. There are an estimated 2000 families in the city of Chennai, many of them who are employees of the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission or work for Banking companies. Some are also pursuing higher education.[7] The Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the state of Gujarat have 200 each while other states such as Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal, Jharkhand have populations ranging from 60 to 30 people.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ THE SRI LANKAN TAMIL DIASPORA AFTER THE LTTE. International Crisis Group. 201. Archived from the original on 2010-05-16. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Sinhalese are shaken by violence but not scared to live in Chennai - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 28 January 2011.
  • Refugee Studies Centre (1996-01-01). Srilankan Tamil refugees in India : a journey without end. INDIA: Refugee Studies Centre.
  • Refugee Studies Centre (Rejiigw, Vol. 13, No. 3 (June 1993)). Srilankan Tamil refugees in India. INDIA: Refugee Studies Centre. Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]