Sri Lankan refugee alleges illegal detention at camp

K. Dhayabararaj, a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee lodged at the Tiruchi special camp who is on an indefinite fast since Thursday, has alleged that his family is under illegal custody at the Special Quarantine Camp in Mandapam, Ramanathapuram district.

When contacted, his wife Udayakala claimed that she was suffering without money and food for her three little children and officials were not extending any help even as her health condition was deteriorating. The camp was closed to visitors and the family is held there for five months. However, police officers said the couple was facing a criminal charge in Sri Lanka and detained pending extradition process. “There is no question of an illegal detention…we have adopted the due process of law,” a senior police officer, who preferred anonymity, said on Monday.

Speaking to The Hindu over phone from the camp, Mr. Dhayabararaj said his family was starving there. When they realised that their detention had no legality, they resorted to an indefinite fast to protest.

“There is no case against me or any of my family members in India. After we landed by boat in May 2014, we were arrested by ‘Q’ Branch police and booked for violation of the Passport Act. The court convicted and sentenced us to one year imprisonment. After completing the sentence, the police lodged me in Tiruchi prison and sent my family to the Special Quarantine Camp at Mandapam without any legal order,” he alleged.

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