Nine Indians smugglers, fishermen remanded
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 23 September 2003, 13:35 GMT]
Nine fishermen and smugglers from India have been remanded by the Mannar magistrate’s court for smuggling refugees and explosives and for poaching in Sri Lanka’s maritime zone, legal sources in the northwestern town told TamilNet Tuesday.
The Indian fishermen were arrested and produced in court by the Sri Lanka Police in Thalaimannar since late July. The Sri Lanka Navy in Thalaimannar assists in the Police in the detection and arrest of Indian fishermen.
The nine Indian fishermen, all from the Ramanathapuram (Ramnad) District of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, are being held in the Anuradhapura remand prison, court officials said.
According to Thalaimannar Police, the following fishermen were charged for smuggling Gelignite (an explosive used for quarrying and dynamiting fish) – Mr. A. Sahayarajah, Mr. J. L Pichchai and S. Jawaharlal.
The following were arrested for poaching in Sri Lankan waters – Mr. Kuppu Arumugam, Mr. M. Nagarajah, Mr. M. Pandiyaraj and Mr. P. Pandis.
Another resident of Ramanathapuram, Mr. Balu Arumugam, was arrested while illegally ferrying ‘refugee brokers’ from Pesalai (a coastal village in the Mannar Island) to the Tamil Nadu coast, Police said.
‘Refugee brokers’ are middlemen who arrange for a fee to clandestinely ferry families of Sri Lankan Tamils living in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu that are eager to return home but are prevented from doing so due to restrictions imposed by the Indian authorities.
Thalaimannar Police sources told TamilNet that Mr. John Kennedy of Sinnathoppu in Ramanathapuram was arrested while ferrying 21 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees from Tamil Nadu to Mannar on 19 September.