RAMESWARAM: Police arrested two persons, including a Sri Lankan national for allegedly sending two Lankan refugees illegally to the island nation from coastal Rameswaram on Tuesday for a sum of Rs 40,000.
One of the arrested persons had allegedly taken the two refugees in a country boat on the midnight of April 28 and left them in Kachchatheevu islet from where some Sri Lankans had reportedly picked them up. "We have arrested B Sekar (31), a native of Talaimannar in Sri Lanka and M Umayeswaran of Rameswaram on Tuesday," Ramanathapuram SP Anil Kumar Giri said. While Sekar has been booked under the Foreigners' Act, Umayeswaran has been charged with criminal conspiracy. Last year several agents like Sekar were arrested by the police for attempting to smuggle Sri Lankan refugees to Australia. But now refugees, who fled from their country due to the ethnic war, are now trying to go back.
Police said Sekar, who came to India as a refugee few years back was staying in Vazhavandhankottai refugee camp in Tiruchi. He got in touch with Umayeswaran, a boatman through Muthuramalingam of Manthoppu near Rameswaram. "Sekar told us that two refugees Kumar and Raju approached him and sought help to return to Sri Lanka. Sekar contacted Umayeswaran who agreed to pick up the two in his boat and drop them on the Kachchateevu island. The two were then picked up by Sekar's contacts from Sri Lanka," said a police official probing the incident. On a tip off about the incident, Q branch sleuths zeroed in on the trio.
"It is possible that refugees have been smuggled into Sri Lanka in the past," said a police official, not willing to be named. "And, they have planned to send more refugees to Sri Lanka in a similar manner," he said. The two refugees had paid a sum of Rs 40,000 to Sekar which was shared among the three.
Police said two refugees who were smuggled out by Sekar, had allegedly been cheated once by an agent who promised to take them to Australia.
(Times of India)