Rescued refugees remanded

[TamilNet, Sunday, 18 June 2000, 16:32 GMT]
The 24 refugees who were rescued by the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) from an islet of the Adam's Bridge in the high seas between the southern coast of Tamil Nadu and Mannar on June 14 were remanded until Monday by Mannar's acting magistrate.

The refugees were produced before the acting magistrate for Mannar, Mr. Emmanuel Caius Feldano, yesterday by the Counter Subversive Unit (CSU) of the Sri Lankan Police. There were six women and three children among the remanded refugees.

The 24 refugees had set out in a boat to Mannar from Mandapam, a coastal town in the Ramanathapuram district in Southern Tamil Nadu, on June 14 around 11 p.m. in rough weather, according to Mannar Police sources who had questioned them. Their boat had capsized in mid sea near the sandbanks of Adam's Bridge. Some of the able bodied men in the group had, however, upturned the boat and pushed it toward a mid sea islet with the women and children and a person whose wrist had been severely slashed when the vessel had capsized.

A seven year old boy, Arichanthiran Krishanthan, was lost in the sea. He and his father Arichanthiran had set out in the ill fated boat to get to Pesalai. The boy's mother lives in the refugee camp in this coastal village 17 kilometers west of Mannar town.

The next morning on June 15 around 7.30 a.m. an Indian Air Force helicopter had spotted them. Later in the afternoon about 4.30 a Sri Lanka Navy vessel had come to the islet and brought them to Talaimannar. The injured person, Arumugam Manogaran, 35, was given first aid by the SLN on the way as his conditions was deteriorating.

The refugees were handed over by the SLN to the Police at Talaimannar on Friday June 16. They were questioned and then handed over to the CSU Saturday afternoon.

The majority of the refugees are from Thonikkal, a village on the outskirts of Vavuniya town. Some are from Mannar and some from Kilinochchi.

The magistrate directed the Police to admit the injured refugee to the Mannar hospital for treatment under guard.

 

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