The Sri Lankan Navy has detained four Tamils, including a former LTTE cadre and a 'suspected LTTE activist', as they reportedly attempted to seek asylum in India on Saturday.
The individuals were spotted 11 nautical miles off the coast of Jaffna by the Sri Lankan navy, in a dinghy.
Those detained were between the ages of 21 – 52, and two were identified to have been residents of Valvettithurai and Mullaitivu areas and one was a former LTTE member. One other detained person was described by the navy as an 'LTTE activist'.
The former LTTE cadre was admitted to Jaffna Teaching Hospital for treatment as he was having respiratory difficulties.
The latest detention comes as the Sri Lankan navy said it was stepping up patrols in the region, to prevent Eelam Tamil refugees who had fled to India from returning. The increase comes despite there having been only a single case of a father-daughter duo, residents of the Pooluvapatti Sri Lankan Refugees’ Camp in Coimbatore, who arrived in Mannar from Tamil Nadu by boat early in June. Sri Lankan police took them into custody on arrival and also arrested six other Tamil who they allege “helped them” enter the island.
The presence of the Sri Lankan Navy in the North-East has been widely criticised by the Tamil community and been marred by state violence.
In May, Sri Lankan sailors assaulted at least two Tamil farmers in Vadamarachchi East, who were returning from work. They were stopped by the sailors and attacked with metal wires at approximately 7.30 pm.
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