Colombo,Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan navy intercepted a boat carrying 30 Rohingya refugees who had been living in India and two suspected Indian traffickers after they tried to enter the country illegally, migration official sources announced today.
The 32 people were brought before the local magistrate on Monday, who remanded them until May 2, indicating they have lived in India for more than five years already.
The island nation’s navy and coastguard stopped the boat and its human cargo, which included 16 children, off Sri Lanka’s northern shores on Sunday, police spokesperson Pritbot Sinyatkibh announced at a press conference.
Local human rights officials who met the Burmese refugees said their planned final destination had been Australia, which lies more than 4,200 miles from Sri Lanka. “They said they got refugee status in New Delhi after coming to India five years back, via Bangladesh. They are from six families,” the official said, asking not to be named.
There have been tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya who have fled predominantly Buddhist Burma since 2012. Human rights groups say Burmese forces have committed summary executions, raped women and burned homes during the ongoing hostilities.
More than 1 million Rohingya currently live in sub human conditions in Burma’s Rakhine State, where many in the Buddhist majority consider them inferior human refuse from Bangladesh.
Experts estimate more than 70,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since October, straining relations between the two nations who both see the stateless Muslim minority as the other nation’s problem.