5 Lankans flee TN refugee camp, nabbed on sands of Island nation

At least five Sri Lankans, including a woman, of Gummidipoondi refugee camp in Tiruvallur, escaped via sea to their native Mannar district in Sri Lanka from Dhanushkodi on TN coast, sources here said.
5 Lankans flee TN refugee camp, nabbed on sands of Island nation


The Tamil Nadu police came to know about their escape from Lankan security agencies after the five landed on the shores of Mannar. They were identified as D Jayaseelan, 34, A Yogathas, 46, Muthuramu Kalaiselvan, 33, Simone Prince, 42 and a woman whose name was not mentioned.
“A clear picture on how they skipped the routine checks at the camp and the mode of transport they used etc will emerge only after the Lankan police finish enquiries with them and send us the details,” police said.
Following the incident, officials are taking the attendance of refugees at the Gummidipoondi camp, police sources said.
This is not the first time Lankans have fled the refugee camp though proper UN-backed repatriation is available from Chennai by Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR).
However, so far in the last four years, not more than 4,000 refugees have used this channel, an official noted.
Police believe many refugees are not yet sure of going back officially as they will not be able to come back once they do it. “They are not sure of the situation there. So they don’t want to abandon the refugee status here, where their basic needs are taken of care though with limited freedom. So they take illegal route to assess situation or claim benefit there and come back to TN camps where they have lived for years,” the official added.
There are around 60,000 refugees in TN camps and another 40,000 in TN’s mainstream society, though civil war in the island nation came to end 11 years ago after the Lankan army eliminated LTTE leader Prabhakaran.
Though refugee flow from Lanka started in the middle of eighties and the civil war ended in 2009, India continued to take Lankan refugees till 2012.

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