Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu alerted

The Coastal Security Group has begun an awareness campaign in the Sri Lankan refugee camps across the Tamil Nadu State to sensitise them of the lurking danger in making stealthy attempts to reach Australia, a Hindu news report said.

The Additional Director-General of Police (CSG), C. Sylendra Babu, addressed the first meeting at the Anaiyur Sri Lankan refugees camp yesterday.

He advised the Sri Lankan nationals against falling prey to the lure of agents who promise to ferry them to Australia.

“The motive of such agents is only to make money by duping you,” he said.

The agents had collected around Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 3 lakh from each family on the promise of ferrying them to Australia.

Displaying a few copies of the photograph of a fishing trawler, Mr. Sylendra Babu said a small boat cannot ferry a huge crowd to the distant Australia. “Australia is over 5,400 km away from Tamil Nadu.

It takes 20 days to reach there. These boats have no facility to take you there, he said.

The campaign was organised in the backdrop of the failed attempt made by 120 Sri Lankan refugees from various camps to flee to Australia on April 6.

They were rescued by the Coast Guard and the Coastal Security Group after they were stranded in the boat following an engine breakdown.

“Not only will you lose your hard-earned money, but will also risk your lives,” he said.

Around 550 Sri Lankan Tamils from India and Sri Lanka have died in such attempts, he said.

The ADGP said the government was providing assistance to the refugees.

He wanted them to concentrate on educating their children well. “Once they become doctors and engineers, they will take you to Australia or New Zealand through legal means,” he said.