Four of a family from Sri Lanka arrive at Dhanushkodi islet

The Sri Lankan Tamil family said they had no jobs, the prices of essential commodities were rising, and they were unable to make ends meet in the island nation

March 30, 2024 03:44 pm | Updated 08:38 pm IST - RAMESWARAM

A Sri Lankan Tamil couple and their two children landed at the Dhanushkodi islet, seeking refuge, on Saturday, March 30, 2024

A Sri Lankan Tamil couple and their two children landed at the Dhanushkodi islet, seeking refuge, on Saturday, March 30, 2024 | Photo Credit: L. Balachandar

After a hiatus of about four months, four persons including two children, of a family from Sri Lanka, arrived on Indian shores, landing at the Dhanushkodi islet on Friday (March 29, 2024) night.

On receiving information, Indian Coast Guard (ICG) personnel intercepted and brought the family of Sri Lankan Tamils to Mandapam, and handed them over to the Marine Police on Saturday, March 30.

Preliminary inquiries revealed that a refugee who identified himself as R. Muruganathan (45) of Mannar district in Sri Lanka, had been in India in 1990. He had come through Rameswaram and lived at the refugee camp in Anaiyur in Madurai city, and thenleft for Sri Lanka in 2017. His wife, Rita Mary (46) had also been here in 1990 and lived at the refugee camp in Sivaganga and Devakottai. She had also left for Sri Lanka in 2017.

The couple has, a nine-year-old girl and a three-year old boy.

No jobs, no food

Claiming that they were suffering in Sri Lanka, especially after the economic recession, the couple said they were finding it very tough to make both ends meet. They had no permanent jobs, the prices of essential goods had escalated, making them hard to procure, Ms. Rita Mary said.

Her husband Muruganathan said that after selling their two milch animals to their neighbours, he had managed to raise SLR 3.5 lakh. Giving this money to a boat man in Pesalai, the four boarded a vessel at 9.30 p.m, and reached the Dhanushkodi islet at around 10.30 p.m. The ICG’s hovercraft personnel brought them to Mandapam, they said.

The Marine Police, after due verification, handed the family to the revenue authorities at the Mandapam Rehabilitation Centre, where about 275 residents have been living here since the economic crisis hit the island nation about three years ago.

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