TAMIL NADU

Suspected LTTE operative lands at Rameswaram, flees

SEARCHING FOR CLUES: Police personnel inspecting the boat believed to have been used by the suspected LTTE operative, at Serankottai on Saturday.

SEARCHING FOR CLUES: Police personnel inspecting the boat believed to have been used by the suspected LTTE operative, at Serankottai on Saturday.  

C. Jaishankar

Oxygen cylinders, diving gear found on boat

RAMANATHAPURAM: A Sri Lankan, suspected to be an operative of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, landed in a fibreglass boat on the Serankottai shore in Rameswaram and fled into the casuarina groves.

According to an eyewitness, a fisherman of Serankottai, the man, aged between 35 to 40 years, was wearing a black shirt and carried baggage. He did not answer questions on his identity.

On receiving information, police rushed to the spot and seized the boat. There were four oxygen cylinders, including an unused one, in the boat, and equipment for underwater respiration. A 25 HP outboard motor engine, four gloves, a black cap, four plastic mats and a fuel can were also found.

While one side of the boat had its number as WNM 109, it was marked SC 046 on the other. It had been built at Jesnika Marine, Negambo. Two identity cards, with the details given in Sinhalese, were also seized. Photos of three persons were found pasted on one of them.

Officials of the Navy, Coast Guard, Intelligence Bureau, Q Branch and others inspected the boat. Superintendent of Police K.A. Senthil Velan conducted enquiries with local fishermen.

S.S. Krishnamoorthy, Deputy Inspector-General of Police in-charge of Ramanathapuram range, told The Hindu that it was suspected that the person could be an operative of the LTTE. “The pressure is on them. There are reasons to believe that he could be one of them.”

Based on information provided by local fishermen, a search operation has been launched. Police stations along the coast have been alerted. Police personnel manning check-posts have been directed to conduct thorough search of vehicles. Hotels and lodges will be closely monitored. Refugee camps have been brought under close surveillance.

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