India refuses Australia’s request to off load 157 refugees

scott morrisson







Australia’s Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison met with India’s Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj at Parliament House in New Delhi on July 22.

Reuters reported that the trio discussed all issues pertaining to illegal migration.

Scott Morrison is the highest level Australian official to visit India since the election of the new BJP led government of Narendra Modi.

India has refused to off loading the 157 refugees with an argument by Mr Morrisson that they came from India and should go back there though India has agreed to visit the ship to ascertain if there are any refugees of Indian origin on board the Australian border protection vessel and will take them back.

One government official was quoted by  The Indian Express  newspaper. “Just because they had an Indian national flag atop their boat does not prove their nationality. They only look Indian. We have asked Australia now for consular access to these people.”

Greens Immigration spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the government is trying to find ‘every which way’ not to deal with the Sri Lanka asylum seekers as refugees.

She said, “No wonder India does not want to be bossed around by Australia. Treatment of these refugees held as prisoners on a ship for four weeks which includes children is a human rights disgrace and an international disgrace.”

Meanwhile, an Australian High Court hearing in Melbourne into the legality of the asylum seekers ongoing detention ruled on July 23 will be heard by a full bench on August 5. The legal challenge from the 157  refugees  will focus on whether the government was limited in its power to intercept boats and take them to countries not obliged to guarantee they would not be placed at risk of harm. The court will also focus on procedural fairness.

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