Chennai: Sri Lankan Navy arrested 12 refugees who had allegedly fled the National country in 2005 when the civil war therein was at its peak and taken refuge in camps set up in Tamil Nadu by the Indian government, were trying to illegally enter the island nation from India on Saturday.
After the civil war ended in Sri Lanka, many among those who had taken refuge in India want to return to their homeland. The 12 people arrested on Saturday include five men, three women and four children. Two of the four children are only eight-month-old.
They were stopped by the Sri Lankan Navy and have been taken into custody and sent to Kangesan Port in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, the two crew members who were steering the boat in which the refugees were travelling in have also been taken into custody.
It is learnt that the 12 people belong to Sri Lanka’s Trincomalee area. They have been sent to a prison in Jaffna and will be under remand till May 19. This is not the first time that the Sri Lankan authorities have stopped and detained refugees trying to enter the country.
On April 3, six people from the Mandapam refugee camp in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu had also attempted to escape to Trincomalee. They too were stopped by Sri Lankan Navy and remanded to Jaffna prison.
Pro-Tamil activists in India have been arguing that the fine imposed by India on refugees to get clearance to return to Sri Lanka force them to adopt illegal means to cross the border.