Kumaratunga urged to organise ship service for Tamil returnees from India

[TamilNet, Monday, 11 April 2005, 15:07 GMT]
Mr.Selvam Adaikalanathan, Vanni district Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian appealed Monday to Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunge to take immediate steps to arrange a ship for the transportation of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees from South India to Sri Lanka. The refugees frequently risk their lives by illegal travel from Thanushkodi in South India to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka- a stretch of 18 km sea- in their anxiety to return to their motherland, the MP said.

Mr. Adaikalanathan has sent a letter on this matter to the Sri Lanka's President with copies to the Leader of the Opposition, the Bishop of Mannar, the Government Agent of Mannar and the Chairman of Mannar Citizens' Committee.

Excerpts from his letter follow:

"The ordeal undergone by Sri Lankan Tamil refugees when returning to their motherland illegally is very harrowing. Indian boatmen charge exorbitant rates for their travel. Many lives are lost due to boats capsizing in midsea in stormy waters. Indian boatmen frequently drop these refugees on sandbanks in midsea to avoid arrest by the Sri Lanka security forces.

"Recently a group of women refugees were sexually attacked while they struggled to free themselves on a sandbank in midsea.

"I appeal to you take necessary steps to investigate this matter.

"There were occasions in the past where UNHCR had arranged ships to transport Sri Lankan Tamil refugees from India. We urge you to do the same."


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