Sept 04 (TOI) CHENNAI- It's not just Sri Lankan Tamil refugees staying in camps in Tamil Nadu who are taking the dangerous boat ride to Australia; even those who never left the island nation are using India as a transit point to reach foreign shores.
On August 27, the Tamil Nadu Q branch police foiled one such attempt in Cuddalore and nabbed 12 Tamils, who had come here as tourists.
Sources in the Q branch said this was the first incident they had come across in recent times of Sri Lankan Tamils using India as a launching pad for their journey seeking greener pastures. Illegal ferry services involving agents, who lure gullible refugees from camps in Tamil Nadu into undertaking the sea journey to Australia, have been a thriving business here and in Kerala. Police in the two states have foiled several attempts but until now, those involved were all refugees from camps in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil leaders in Sri Lanka told TOI that the situation there was still far from normal , perhaps driving people to fall into the hands of unscrupulous ferry agents, paying as much as Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh to reach Australia.