K.T. Sangameswaran

They are taking the risk out of desperation

  • Earlier they would travel by night to avoid the authorities
  • Three boats have arrived during daytime
  • Refugees were from Mannar, Vavuniya, Jaffna and Trincomalee districts

    CHENNAI: With Sri Lankan Tamils desperate to reach the shores of Tamil Nadu, boat owners are operating services even during the day.

    Official sources at the Mandapam refugee settlement say contrary to the situation in the past, when Tamils fled the island in boats under cover of darkness, for the past few days they have been landing on the Tamil Nadu coast even during daytime.

    Two boats carrying more than 15 persons reached the coast on Tuesday around noon after a nearly two-hour journey from Talaimannar. Another boat had arrived during the day on Monday. This trend has been noticed over the past few days, the sources say. Earlier, the boat journey was made late in the evening or at night to evade authorities.

    103 persons arrive

    Of the 103 persons, belonging to 30 families, who arrived on Monday, five had paid Rs.10,000 each to travel from Sri Lanka to Rameswaram, officials said. While 12 persons had given a boat operator a total of Rs. 62,000, another group of nine had paid Rs. 18,000. Yet another boat carried five persons for Rs. 27,000.

    The refugees were from Mannar, Vavuniya, Jaffna and Trincomalee districts. The landings were at Arisalmunai and Kunthugal.