Monday, 2 February 2004  
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Over 5,000 people from Tamil Nadu migrate to Lanka

Chamikara Weerasinghe

More than 5,000 Tamil people have reportedly migrated to Sri Lanka during the last five years through illegal means from Tamil Nadu upto now, and of them 1871 persons have come in 2003.

Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Refugees Minister Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena said he had informed this to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

He said, the IOM on being made alert about the situation, agreed to help control the situation in a joint operation with the Ministry of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Refugees.

The representatives of the IOM offices, based in Talaimannar and Pesalai are now monitoring the situation, the minister said. "They come to Sri Lanka from Tamil Nadu by boats, and this is very dangerous for them," he said.

The minister said he had been made aware of the inside situation by the Bishop of Mannar, and other reliable sources that several unscrupulous Lankan businessmen in Tamil Nadu as organising these illegal sea journeys.

He also said that some of these businessmen were found to have boarded young girls in their boats after promises of finding jobs for them in the Middle East. "The businessmen were found to have used these girls for their own interest," he said.

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