The CB-CID wing of Puducherry police arrested two persons in connection with the trafficking of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, who travelled from the Puducherry coast to Christmas Island in June.
Sources said the boat owners, Raja alias Sanjeevi of Kuruchikuppam and A Manjini of Vambakeerapalayam were arrested on Thursday.
Sources revealed that one of the boat owners told the police that they rented out the boat to a Tamil refugee, who used it to transport the refugees to the Australian island. Police are verifying the boat owner’s claims. The arrests were made as per the information provided by Australian immigration officials.
The boat owners were produced before the court on Friday and were remanded to judicial custody.
It may be recalled that a few days ago Australia’s immigration minister Scott Morrison had taken up the issue of asylum seekers and asked the Indian government to provide consular services to the refugees who were held as prisoners. The Minister reportedly told external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and home minister Rajnath Singh that the boat had 157 asylum seekers, who started from the south Indian coast.
Last month, 153 Sri Lankan Tamils, including 32 women and 37 children reached some 250 km off Christmas Island in a boat, which reportedly left from Puducherry shores.