'Stranded' Asylum Seekers To Be Handed Over To SL Navy In Mid Sea

A boatload of Sri Lankan asylum-seekers found near Cocos Island has been picked up by Australian authorities and will be handed over to the Sri Lankan navy in the mid sea, a senior  navy spokesman has told Australian media.

According to media, reports the two boats, one of which was said to be carrying 150 people including Tamils, were apprehended by Australian authorities off Christmas Island.

The boat carrying 153 Tamil asylum seekers left Pondicherry in Tamil Nadu, southern India, on 13 June and contacted refugee advocates and journalists last Friday. It has not been heard from since Saturday and is understood to have been intercepted by Australian customs.

Another, carrying 50 asylum seekers, is also understood to have been intercepted by customs near the Cocos Islands.

A group representing mainly Sri Lankan Tamils in Australia has expressed their outrage over reports Australia may have returned a boat of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka in the past few days.

© 2019 Asian Mirror (pvt) Ltd