THERE is speculation a boatload of Tamil asylum seekers has been handed over to the Sri Lankan Navy as the federal government continues its silence over the reported interception of two vessels.
CHRISTMAS Island local councillor Gordon Thomson has called on the federal government to confirm the accuracy of reports that asylum seekers had been transferred from Australian custody.
“It’s a very, very, very disturbing story, if it’s true,” he told AAP.
“That would be a quantum leap in ruthless bastardry by any government.”
The government has repeatedly refused to confirm reports that two boats have been intercepted by Australian authorities off Christmas Island.
One of the boats is reportedly carrying 153 Tamil asylum seekers, including about 30 children – many of them sick – while the other has 50 people aboard.
Refugee advocates say they have not heard from the Tamil asylum seekers since Saturday and they believe Australia is coordinating with the Sri Lankan navy to tow them back.
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to say whether the boat was being taken back to Sri Lanka.
“I’m not going to comment on the operational detail of what happens on the water,” he told ABC Radio.
Further comment has been sought from Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, who refused to comment on Monday, saying that public curiosity was not the same as the public interest.
(Originally posted in the Herald Scum)