Friday, February 17, 2006

Tamils strip off at Heathrow

BBC ON THIS DAY | 17 | 1987: Tamils strip off at Heathrow: " A group of Tamils from Sri Lanka seeking asylum in Britain protested at Heathrow airport by removing their clothes as they were about to be deported.

Twelve male members of a 64-strong group, who arrived in the UK last week on a Bangladeshi aircraft, stripped off on the tarmac in freezing weather conditions.

Amid a frenzied scuffle with security personnel they were forcibly placed onto the awaiting aircraft which was bound for Dhaka. By February 1988 as many as 2,500 Tamils had fled from the conflict in Sri Lanka to Britain but the Lord's ruling paved the way for the government to begin their deportation.

New rules were introduced in March 1987 which stipulated that carriers bringing anyone to Britain without a valid passport or acceptable travel documents were liable to a fine of £1,000 per passenger.

It is understood this particular group travelled from Sri Lanka to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia where they had each paid £1,500 to an "agent" who promised them entry into Britain.

The government claims that in the past two months more than 300 Tamils have arrived in Britain without visas."

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