The country’s Immigration and Emigration Department told the ABC the group Australia sent back last week are all members of the majority Sinhalese ethnicity, and insists they are all being treated properly.
Yesterday Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed recent reports that a boat carrying 12 Sri Lankans had reached the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean, north-west of the Australian mainland.
Mr Dutton also said the Government’s assertion it has stopped the boats remained accurate, because the dozen on board were sent back to Colombo last week.
“We were able to successfully return those 12 people, which included men women and children, back safely to Sri Lanka on the sixth of May,” he said.
Now, Sri Lanka’s Immigration Department has confirmed its officers have given the group over to the country’s Criminal Investigation Department.
Immigration Department spokesman Lakshma Zoysa said the group was being investigated to determine “how they went from Sri Lanka”.
“They are involved in criminal activities, yeah, that’s an immigration crime,” he said.
The group is also being questioned he said, to try and glean information about who organised the trip. (Colombo Gazette)