Lankan refugees' possible LTTE link being ascertained

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Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, Jan 23 (UNI) The 'Q' branch police were investigating the possible link between two Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, who reached here in a clandestine boat from Nachikuda in Sri Lanka, and the proscribed LTTE.

Police sources said they were grilling the refugees as the duo claimed to have come from a LTTE-controlled area.

Three refugees -- A Sridayaharan alias Kannan (26), T Adhavan (24) and R Dushyanthan (22) of Mullaithivu -- had paid Rs 1.5 lakh to an illegal boat operator at Nachikudu to get dropped at Arichamunai, on January 21. As the Lankan Navy authorities chased them, the clandestine boat operators had forced them into a mechanised fishing boat at Kachathivu.

When they were a few nautical miles away from the Rameswarm coast last evening, the fishermen had asked the refugees to jump into the sea to avoid interception by the Indian Coast Guard. As the trio refused, the fishermen pushed them into the sea. While Adhavan and Sridayaharan swam to safety, Dushyanthan had drowned.

UNI XR DS-GD SY VC1852

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