Rescued 120 Sri Lankans arrested

One hundred twenty Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka who were rescued by the Indian Coast Guard from a stranded vessel in the sea yesterday, have been and arrested.

An NDTV report said that the refugees, mostly from camps in Tamil Nadu, were illegally heading to Australia, but their vessel developed a snag in the Bay of Bengal near Nagapattinam.

The vessel had set off into the sea on Friday night.

One of the refugees, Kokilavania, said: “We never expected this to happen. We thought if we go to Australia, we would get citizenship; at least our children would get a good life.”

Last year, there were several instances of Lankan Tamil refugees leaving Tamil Nadu for Australia to seek asylum. The Australian government had warned that those arriving by boat would not be given asylum.