Aussie-bound Lankans held in India | Daily News

Aussie-bound Lankans held in India

Two Sri Lankan refugees at a community hall on Tuesday after police thwarted their effort to go to Australia illegally by boat.—Deccan Chronicle

Seventeen Sri Lankan refugees, including two women and three children, camping in a house in Walajabad in the neighbouring Kanchipuram district, to find their way to Australia illegally, were detained by the Police.

The group, whose members paid anything up to Rs 1 lakh to two Walajabad agents, was planning to take a boat from Cuddalore to Australia. Police arrested the two agents, Ooty Raja alias Jyothi Raja, 50, and Prakasam, 40, for their attempt at human trafficking.

Both agents who have settled in Kanchipuram are refugees from Jaffna. Police said the refugees intending to travel to Australia have been confined to a community hall and will be sent back to their receptive camps in Tirunelveli and Gumudipoondi.

According to the Police, the two men arrested on Tuesday had already been booked by the Police on similar charges in Thoothukudi a few months ago. The refugees confided to the Police that they were promised a safe journey to Australia.

"It appears they were lured by the promise of a decent life in Australia," the Police said. Many refugees were not aware that a good number of Sri Lankans who took such voyages across the Indian Ocean had failed to reach their destination and had perished in mid sea in the past.

Quoting statistics, the police said that by the end of 2012, over 600 Lankans had perished in the sea when they tried to cross the Indian Ocean in fishing trawlers.

However, the promise of a greener pasture is still attracting good number of refugees to attempt the trip. "If their efforts are thwarted on the Tamil Nadu coast, agents are taking the refugees to Kochi in Kerala or Mangalore in Karnataka from where they are put in boats," the police said. Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle