Contrary to the allegations of human rights violations, attacks by the armed forces and other threats to them in Sri Lanka, made by Tamil asylum seekers in Australia, one Tamil among a group of 26 asylum seekers has admitted that all of them were going to Australia only for money.
They were apprehended at sea two days ago by a French vessel on an alert by the Sri Lanka Navy and handed over to the SLN. The admission of the lure of money was made to the Australian media.
The Australian journalist Amanda Hodge, South Asia correspondent of The Australian” interviewed these persons on the vessel they were brought back to Sri Lanka. One of those interviewed, whose name has been withheld, was very clear in stating that all of those brought back by the SLN had not left due to any threats from the forces, but only for money.
The interview, with video clip is published in “The Australian” - today July 31, 2012.
Here is the relevant excerpt from the interview:
“You were saying that you weren’t leaving because of any problems?”
“No, No. Honestly, I am telling you…it is very easy to say that the army is trying to kill us, and we are running. But I am honestly telling, it is not only me, nobody is here like that.”
“So what was the reason you wanted to go?”
This person also said he did not take as serious the Australian government’s recent move in sending back one asylum seeker to Sri Lanka.
Journalist: “If you had known that they had sent back one Tamil this week would it have made a difference to you?’
Answer: “Not exactly. By the time one comes 10,000 have landed there. Then it won’t make so much of a difference.”
Journalist: “Do you think the [Australian] government is serious if it sends back one person?”
Answer: “I don’t think so. It is like kidding, isn’t it? 100,000 Sri Lankans and sending back one person. Like kidding, no?”
Here is the video of the interview published in The Australian.