Tamil asylum seekers caught in Indonesian waters say they face genocide in Sri Lanka

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Canberra, Oct. 18 (ANI): Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers, whose boat was stopped in Indonesian waters on the pretext that they were not genuine refugees, have claimed that ethnic Tamils face a genocide threat in their country.

The spokesman of the group, who was apprehended by an Indonesian navy patrol boat a week ago on an Australian tip-off, has expressed surprise over the fact that how his American accent English could become a reason for the rejection of his refugee plea. "Just because I speak English, and I was educated in an American boys mission school in my home town, and then I finished my BA, and then I finished my MBA in India, so does that mean I am not a refugee?

"We are facing genocide in Sri Lanka -- it's not about whether you are educated or not educated. Just the fact that you are Tamil, you will face genocide sooner or later. There will be an entire annihilation of Tamils in Sri Lanka. It will happen," The Australian quoted the man identifying himself as Alex, as saying.The Indonesian authorities had asked the group of 255 members produce education certificates and details of their professional background to prove that were fleeing the country in fear for their lives, not just seeking a better economic future.

Refusing their demands, 218 asylum seekers went on a hunger strike saying the revelation of their identities could put the lives of their families in danger back home. However, in the wake of many protesters fainting and getting hospitalised, they have now ended their hunger strike.Alex and a nine-year-old girl aboard the 30m wooden cargo boat, the Jaya Lestari 5, have been among the only members of the group to speak publicly. The girl, Brinda, had revealed the constant death threats against her family before they left Jaffna for the perilous attempted journey to Australia via Malaysia. "We get calls, and they say we will kill you because of my father's work -- he does building construction and electrician work for other people," she said. (ANI)

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