PUDUCHERRY: The police and security agencies here are investigating a reported departure of a boat with Sri Lankan Tamil refugees from the shores of Puducherry.
According to sources, officials of the police and other security agencies conducted enquiries in the fishing hamlets along the Puducherry coast.
The commandant of Indian Coast Guard District Head Quarters No 13, N Somasundaram, said the Coast Guard has been monitoring the movement of every vessel, including fishing boats, within our limit.
“We would have received information on the movement of the boats somehow. There is a chance that they might have left under the guise of a fishing boat. But this again is very difficult because of our monitoring,” he said. We need to further investigate this to ascertain whether or not this happened off our coast, he added.
The marine police officials also denied any knowledge of the boat leaving from Puducherry and said they would, however, probe the reported incident.
It is suspected that the Sri Lankan refugees from the Keezhputhupet (Villupuram) camp along with others from Tamil Nadu might have made the journey in the boat to Australian shores.
According to a report from Melbourne, Australia, 153 Sri Lankan Tamils, including 32 women and 37 children reached some 250 km off Christmas Island in a boat, which reportedly left from Puducherry shores. The boat developed an oil leak.
According to information gathered here, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority have been informed of the details of the boat. Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison did not comment on the vessel or its position, but said there was “no significant events involving extreme risk of safety of life at sea”.
“For operational security reasons, the government does not confirm or otherwise comment on reports of on-water activities in relation to Operation Sovereign Borders or disclose details of any operations other than where there have been significant events involving extreme risk of safety of life at sea. The government has no such reports of significant events,” a spokesman for the minister said.
The Australian government is firm on dealing with asylum seekers entering their borders illegally. The authorities turned away hundreds of Indonesians, who reached Australian borders in vessels in the past.