Chennai: Tamil Nadu Coastal Police and the Indian Coast Guard have intensified patrolling in the Dhanushkodi and Rameswaram areas following intelligence report that more Sri Lankan Tamils will come to Indian shores after the financial situation in the island nation worsened.
While the Tamil Nadu government has taken a political decision to lodge all the Sri Lankan Tamils who reach the shores of the country into the refugee camps and not to send them to jail, there are reports of some fugitives of now-defunct terror organisation LTTE reaching Tamil Nadu shores.
Another factor that the Coastal police want to check is the illegal ferrying of refugees into the Indian shores by the boat operators who drop the people midway near the shores and make good their escape. The refugees have to wade mostly through chest-high water to reach the small lands that are near the Dhanushkdi shores.
On Monday, the coastal police rescued an elderly Sivan, 81, from Mannar region in Sri Lanka and Parameswari, 71, from Trincomalee who was found unconscious on the shores near the Kothanadmarar temple in Dhanushkodi. The Indian Coast Guard had to use the services of hovercraft to rescue the duo to the mainland.
What is worrying is that several Sri Lankan Tamils, who are genuine refugees are reaching the shores due to the economic crisis in the Island nation after paying hefty money to illegal ferry operators. These illegal operators, mostly fishermen from Sri Lanka don’t have the necessary license to cross the International Marine Boundary Line (IMBL) and hence drop these refugees far away from the mainland in small mud elevations. If these refugees are not spotted either by the patrolling teams or the fishermen from Tamil Nadu, the situation will turn worse.
Since the economic crisis in Sri Lanka, more than 90 people have reached the Indian shores and have been given asylum at the refugee camps for Sri Lankan nationals at Mandapam. The state government and the Central government are taking a lenient view as far as the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees are concerned.
A senior officer of Tamil Nadu Coastal police told IANS, “The police patrolling teams are in the sea and are monitoring closely but there are intelligence inputs of some hard core former cadres of the LTTE also trying to reach the Indian shores in the guise of refugees. This, we are monitoring closely and there is proper information from the intelligence agencies regarding the same.”