Kerala police in India on Monday arrested 11 Sri Lankans, who were planning to sail to Canada on a fishing boat, from a hotel in Kollam after a tip off from the Q Branch of the Tamil Nadu police, officials said.
Two of them reached Tamil Nadu last week on tourist visas and were found to be missing, while the nine others entered India as refugees and were living in a rehabilitation centre in Ramanathapuram in southern Tamil Nadu, they added.
The Q Branch followed the phone signals of the duo who came on tourist visas after they were found to be missing. They located them in Kollam and alerted the Kerala police. After a search, the Kerala police nabbed them along with the nine others.
“More arrests are likely because the arrested got some local help. We have some leads on this,” said Kollam police commissioner Merin Joseph.
During questioning they reportedly told police that they gave INR 2.5 lakh each to an agent called Lakhmana in Colombo so as to ensure their trip to Canada on a fishing boat from the southern coast of India. A team of Tamil Nadu Q Branch also arrived in the state to question them.
Police suspect that they took Kerala coast because of the heightened vigil along the Tamil Nadu coast post the economic unrest in Sri Lanka. In July, the Sri Lankan navy arrested 64 persons, mostly Tamil origin, suspected to be attempting to illegally migrate to Australia on a fishing trawler.
Source: Hindustan Times