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100 illegal migrants rescued

india Updated: Dec 29, 2008 00:56 IST

IANS
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Donning a humanitarian role, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard have rescued about 100 Bangaldeshis, who were illegally taken to Thailand for fishing, and were drifting in the Indian Ocean for 12 days, an official in New Delhi said.

The Bangladeshis, rescued off the Andaman and Nicobar islands, were being interrogated at the Little Andaman Island.

“These boys, 412 in number, from Cox Bazaar in Bangladesh were hired by a local person for fishing in Thai waters. However, as soon as they arrived, they were caught by the Thai police,” a defence official of the Integrated Defence Command in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands told IANS by telephone.

“They said the Thai police put them on a pontoon tied to a ship to deport them back. But these boys quietly opened the cable and the pontoon started drifting.

“One of the survivors reached the Little Andaman Island. Following this, the army, navy, air force and Coast Guard in consultation with the local police launched an aerial reccee and patrolling to locate the rest of them,” the officer said.

During patrols a boat, with 88 people onboard, was found 40 nautical miles away from the Little Andaman Island. A dozen others were also rescued.

“The Indian Navy and Coast Guard rescued the survivors in a joint operations. The rescued people are being questioned if there is a pattern in their trafficking,” the official added.