RAMESWARAM: Struggling to make a living in the crisis-hit island nation, about 18 Sri Lankan Tamils including a 4-month pregnant woman and a one-and-half-year-old child arrived in two batches in Rameswaram late Thursday night. Reportedly, 18 migrants are by far the second-highest number of Lankan refugees to arrive on a single day.
Sri Lanka has been facing a severe economic crisis that has caused unemployment and heavy inflation issues. Owing to such hardships, Sri Lankans, especially Lankan Tamils, are illegally travelling to Rameshwaram in small boats, seeking refuge in India. From March 22 to date, about 60 Sri Lankan Tamils (including the 18 who arrived late Thursday) have come to Rameswaram in eight batches to seek refuge.
The first batch comprised 13 Sri Lankan Tamils including a pregnant woman and a one-and-half-year-old child belonging to the Mannar region in Sri Lanka. They reportedly started from Mannar fishing harbour on Thursday morning and arrived illegally at Arichal Munai at Dhanushkodi in two boats in the late hours of Thursday.
On receiving this information, Marine police officials took them to the Marine police station for enquiry.
Reportedly, the second batch consisted of 5 Sri Lankan Tamils. Some families belonging to the Jaffna region in Sri Lanka who had started from Jaffna also arrived at the shores of Cherankottai near Rameswaram in the wee hours of Friday.
Upon being informed of the family standing on the shores of Cherankottai, the Marine police team rushed to the area and took them to the police station in Rameswaram for enquiry.
Official sources said the captured migrants will be lodged at Mandapam refugee camp later the day as per the advisory issued by the Tamil Nadu government. Officials stated that the 18 Sri Lankan Tamils consist of 7 children and 5 women and all of them were provided with necessary amenities during the enquiry.
Reportedly, about 42 migrants including children who have come from Sri Lanka seeking refugee are lodged in the Mandapam refugee camp. Adding the current 18 migrants, the total number of Sri Lankan migrants who have arrived in India has increased to 60.