The Q branch of the Tamil Nadu police has over the past two days foiled alleged attempts by at least six Sri Lankan Tamils to leave the country illegally for New Zealand by sea.
Three other Sri Lankan Tamils, who acted as “agents” to facilitate their voyage, have also been taken into custody, the police said.
Following information of some people preparing to leave the country in a couple of days, a police team from the Q branch led by DSP K Shivasankar and inspector M Ramachandraboopathi on Tuesday evening raided a couple of lodges in Velankanni. They apprehended five persons from refugee camps across the state and an illegal immigrant.
The five were a woman and her two sons from Kelavarapalli camp in Krishnagiri district, one from Kulathuvaipatti camp in Thoothukudi district and one from Gudimallur camp in Vellore district. A 36-year-old person who was not in possession of refugee documents was deemed an illegal immigrant.
The Q branch handed over the detained to the law and order police who took them into custody and interrogated them. “We learnt that they were trying a buy a mechanised boat from a fisher from Poompuhar and leave for New Zealand around Wednesday.
They had paid a fisher from Poompuhar several lakhs of rupees through some illegal agents for the vessel,” said inspector Ramachandraboopathi. According to sources, the Sri Lankan Tamils had planned to load the fuel tanks of the vessel and carry additional fuel in cans in order to make it to New Zealand from Poompuhar. In their continued investigation to find out who had arranged for their voyage towards New Zealand, the police made some of the detained Sri Lankan Tamils to call and make their “agents” come near Velankanni Beach on Wednesday.
Three other Sri Lankan Tamils turned up then following which the police took them also into custody. One of them was from Cheyyaru camp in Tiruvannamalai district, another from Keezhaputhupattu camp in Villupuram district and the third from Okkur camp in Sivaganga district. “These agents had convinced the people whom we detained earlier a trip to New Zealand where they said they can lead a better life. We are still looking for other suspects in the racket. Some of whom we detained earlier are victims of assurances,” said an official from Velankanni Police Station.
Officials said that some of the Sri Lankan refugees had arrived during the civil war in the island nation and some even born to refugee parents in India. The illegal immigrant, meanwhile, arrived around 2016, they added. The police said that they may charge only some of the detained Sri Lankan Tamils. (new indian express)
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