Refugee woman, children stranded on Adam’s Bridge

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 March 2005, 12:06 GMT]
A refugee woman abandoned on a sandbank in the seas off Mannar with her two children was reported missing Tuesday. Fishermen from Thalaimannar who had given food to the woman and her children informed the parish priest of the area about her plight. “They told me that the woman and her daughters were stranded without food or water since Saturday morning. Sri Lanka navy searched the sandbanks in the area when I brought it to their notice”, Fr. Antonydas Christopher Daleema, parish priest for Thalaimannar told TamilNet Tuesday. Local fishermen do not rescue refugees from mid sea, fearing arrest.

The priest set out in a fiberglass boat this afternoon with some fishermen to search the smaller of the nine sandbanks which make the Adam’s Bridge between India’s southern tip at Thanushkodi and Thalaimannar.

SLN vessels are too large to approach the smaller sandbanks in the sea.

The woman and her children were not found. The priest and local fishermen said they may have been rescued by boats arranged by relatives.

Each month scores of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees escape from camps in South India to risk the hazardous journey to Thalaimannar from Ramanathapuram and Thanushkodi in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Many of them are abandoned on sandbanks in the Adam’s Bridge by refugee runners.

Meanwhile, Thalaimannar Police produced in the Mannar courts ten refugees belonging to four families who had arrived Monday from India. The judge ordered their release.


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