Seven refugees drown while returning to Lanka
RAMANATHAPURAM: Seven Sri Lankan refugees, who attempted to flee to
the country, drowned at midsea when the boat in which they were
travelling capsised in the early hours of Saturday.
According to reports, 13 Sri Lankan refugees, including five women
and two children, from different camps, including Palani and
had boarded a country boat at Thonithurai, near Mandapam, on
September 11 to proceed to Sri Lanka. Owing to rough seas and strong
winds, the boat capsised at mid-sea in the Palk Straits.
All occupants were thrown into the water.
Six managed to swim and reach a nearby islet, while seven others,
including two children, were feared to have drowned.
The six refugees who swam to the islet remained stranded on it for 24
hours. However, three refugees, including Ravi and Suman and the
boatman, swam ashore leaving three others, Reginald, Selvanathan and
Ithayarani on the islet.
Personnel in an Indian Navy vessel, who were on patrol, spotted the
three and brought them to shore and handed them over to Dhanuskodi
police for inquiry.
Chandran, Rameswaram tahsildar, and a team from 'Q' Branch questioned
the refugees who escaped death. They gave the names of four of the
missing persons as Nithya (25), Gopika (7), Sahayarani (28) and Poomeni
(65), but could not state which camps they were from. Meanwhile, the
Indian Navy has intensified the search for the bodies. Express News