Indian boatmen ferrying refugees arrested

[TamilNet, Saturday, 05 April 2003, 16:19 GMT]
Sri Lanka Police produced in the Mannar courts Saturday 23 refugees who had come by boat from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Sources said that the Sri Lanka Navy had arrested them Friday morning and had assaulted the men in the group after allegedly finding gelignite in the possession of one of them.

The SLN also arrested three Indian boatmen who ferried the refugees Talaimannar. The group, comprising many women and children, was detained by the Navy on the Talaimannar beach from the early morning to Friday afternoon, Police sources said.

The three Indian boatment, Athonisamy Sahayarajah, 28, Thresapuram, Tuticorin, Sabinar John Ladissus Pichchaiya,40, Vadakkuraj Street, Tuticorin, Perukkumaan Jawaharlal, 55, Tuticorin, were also produced in court today.

The refugees said they had paid the boatmen 4000 Indian rupees (about 78 USD) per person for the journey. They had left in the small hours of Friday from the Mandapam Refugee Camp area on the Ramanathapuram coast in southern Tamil Nadu.

Most in the group told TamilNet they are from Jaffna. The others are from Mannar and Trincomalee.

Police told court that the Navy had found gelignite in the possession of Kanadasamy Jayaseelan, 31, of Thanniyootru, Mullaithivu and hence he should be remanded for further investigations. Jayaseelan had lived in the Thambampatti refugee camp in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu for 13 years. Police said that a mobile phone and VCD recorder were also found in his possession.

Acting Mannar district magistrate Mr. M. M Saburdeen remanded the three Indian boatmen and Jeyaseelan until 7 April.

He directed government officials in the relevant departments to make arrangements for the refugees to return to their home areas.

 

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