As many as 150 Sri Lankan refugees are believed to have disappeared from camps across the Indian state of Tamil Nadu in the past fortnight, raising fears of another impending asylum-seeker tragedy in the monsoonal waters of the Indian Ocean, The Australian reported
Police in the port city of Kollam in the state of Kerala confirmed yesterday they had received reports of dozens of refugees missing from camps across the neighbouring southern state and were trying to determine whether another boatload of asylum-seekers had left in the past fortnight.
“We had information that around 150 people are missing from the camps and that they have not been seen for more than a week,” Kollam assistant police commissioner Thomson Jose told The Weekend Australian yesterday. “We have contacted all the hotels and lodges in Kollam but this could have happened even 15 days ago. We don’t have any confirmed reports of whether they have left or not.”
The news comes less than three weeks after police intercepted a fishing boat, carrying 151 Sri Lankans, one nautical mile into a three-week journey to Australia’s western-most territorial waters.
Mr Jose said no asylum-seeker boat could have left any Keralan port in the past week because the state closed its fishing grounds to all but the smallest traditional fishing boats for 45 days from June 15.
“In Kollam, we have closed and chained the harbour,” he said. “No boat can leave from here since June 15.”
Tamil refugee advocates from the Chennai-based Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation said they were contacting officials in all 112 Tamil Nadu refugee camps to try to determine whether another boat successfully left India around the same time as the vessel intercepted on June 5.
Over the narrow Palk Strait in Sri Lanka, activists say they suspect at least one, maybe two more, boats were able to evade a Sri Lankan navy blitz this month. - The Australian.
Comments - 6
pee da mossa Sunday, 24 June 2012 03:25 AM
What do you sat about that, Jaya, and K' nidhi ?
Asoka Monday, 25 June 2012 03:19 AM
Some Indian media said they are hard-core LTTE terrorists
Nodrog Sunday, 24 June 2012 05:06 AM
Australia, please take note and roll out the welcome carpets for these poor 'refugees'.
subbiah Sunday, 24 June 2012 07:06 AM
Shame on Tamil Nadu politicians who seek political advantage using Sri Lankan Tamils
Bandara Sunday, 24 June 2012 08:00 AM
What has Sri Lankan Govt got to say about our Sri Lankans living in Refugee camps, 3 yrs after the war; got to say???
Nodrog Sunday, 24 June 2012 10:36 AM
What to say? Why don't you ask Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha? They went there illegally on their own so let them suffer the consequences now.
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