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Lankan Tamil pilgrims held at Sabarimala

January 17, 2009 12:59 IST

Twenty Sri Lankan Tamil pilgrims visiting the shrine of Lord Ayyapa at Sabarimala, have been arrested as they did not possess proper travel documents.

The pilgrims, who were said to have come from Jaffna in Sri Lanka [Images], were arrested late last night and they would be produced in the court later today, police sources said.

The pilgrims, part of a 28-member team, claimed that they came by air to Chennai a few days ago and made preparations for making the trip to the hill shrine from an ashram at Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu. Eight of them had passports in their possession.

They reached Sabarimala on Thursday and ended up with the police yesterday while trekking down the hills after paying obeisance.

Police said eight of them had travel documents while others had in their possession the identity cards purportedly issued by Ministry of Hindu Religious and Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka.

During questioning, they claimed that their passports and other documents were kept in the ashram at Tiruchirappalli. Police sources, however, said their responses to queries sounded a bit contradictory. The Tamil Nadu police had also been informed of the matter for further investigations. 




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