On the long haul back by plane from London to Adelaide from the 22 to 26th July I was sketching a list of articles on migration from Lanka since the 1950s with a focus on the tendency of reporters to look only at (a) Tamil migrants and (b) the recent influx of boat people – with almost total neglect of
- the deep past dating from the 1950s if not the 1940s;
- the considerable flow of Sinhalese, Muslims and other non-Tamil ethnic minorities from Sri Lanka over the last twenty or more years – by legal means as well as some foul;
- the considerable impact of snowballing chain migration in cumulative force from way back;
- the illegal entry of asylum seekers to Western countries by air and land routes; and
- the existence of forgery networks sponsoring the latter process.
Well, lo and behold! The Dayan Anthony sob story sensationally portrayed by the Sydney Morning Herald with such dripping pathos [an item I posted earlier today] has revealed that forgeries were part of the process –confirming my gut feeling arising from a reasonably definite tale relayed to me by M. Sathiyamoorthy of the ORI regarding a middle class SL Catholic Tamil family, refugees from a middle class background who owned a flat in the same apartment building in Chennai where his apartment was, who suddenly decamped [without informing Sathiyamoorthy despite the assistance he had continuously given them] and went abroad by air with the aid of the eldest son, a priest. His understanding was that forged papers were deployed. This, and some comments from the indomitable Muttukrishna Sarvananthan in Colombo and Point Pedro, had alerted me to the likelihood of forgeries being an important aspect of the out-migration pathways.
I insert here an email received from a functionary at the Ministry of Defence in Sri Lanka, a man I do not know personally, but one who is [unlike some Lankan officials] prompt and methodical in his work methods. I have not corrected his spelling mistakes—the only one of import being his spelling of “Kayts” as Kytes.
I may add some Comments at the end and keep inserting more info as the days pass by.
Email from SURESH NASEER of Ministry of Defence, GoSL, to Michael Roberts, 26 July 2012
Today I’d an opportunity to interview Dayan Anthony first deportee from Australia . Alrdy being H/o to over to his parents today. The significance of this event is that the some Australian reports /publications (attached) highlighted the following;
The deportee is a victim of Sri Lankan war and has been in Mullawaikkal during 2009 and subsequently move to Australia. The same report highlights that he has been subjected to torture by CID as he was found guilty of associating with LTTE and selling clothes to LTTE from Negombo.Furthermore the report talks about the white van and how he managed to escape from the white van abduction. Hence the reports portray a complete different picture about Sri Lanka and blame Australian authorities fro putting this mans life in a very dangerous situation , indicating that he will be harassed, tortured and imprisoned.The report also indicate an arrest warrant issued against the suspect.
I checked and found that all these allegations are baseless and not true. The said person was borne in Kytes and moved to Negombo in 1989. He has never experienced any wrong doings as alleged by the above media reports . He has gone to Malaysia seeking a job but has returned and then he has sought the assistance of an agency to go to France in 2009. Having failed that , the agent Siva (well known human smuggling operative) has taken him to Australia by using a fake passport. His sister is living in Australia . The agent has told him to tell the immigration authorities that he was in Wanni and was subjected to torture by CID and also has a case against him. He was wanted by Police. He was never in Wanni as claimed by the report. As per the statement made by him, he was asked to tell all these things as Australians have a soft corner for illegal immigrants.
He also has been told that Australia will consider the asylum application only if it from North and East but not from any other part of the country.Today he is a freeman and he has never experienced any sort of harassment from the airport and he was taken in to CID in order to identify him and to check the allegations made against him by the media. At the CID he has been treated well and now released him back to his parents. He wants to start a new life. He blames the Australia authorities as he was handcuffed and brought to Sri Lanka which resulted in swollen wrists. All these were stated to the media personnel voluntarily prior to joining his parents.It is unfortunate that some segments of the media together with pro LTTE elements in Australia along with some human right activists deliberately engage in a campaign to bring discredit to GoSL on this issue behind the human right banner. will send you a photograph within half an hour.
An Australian journalist also spoke to him today.
Further comments by Michael Roberts as ongoing sequence
- All this does not mean that Sri Lankan Tamils as well as those defined as “Indian Tamils” in the census did not suffer from discrimination in the past.
- Nor that the violent conflict was not a major impetus to migration to India and elsewhere, especially during the years following the pogrom of July 1983. Thus in brief ethnic tensions and violence was a major promoter of out-migration.
- This violence was not merely Sinhalese upon Tamil but Tamil upon Tamil arising from the fratricide between different Tamil militant groups in the 1980s and 1990s with the LTTE alone said to have killed some 7000 fellow Tmils between 1983 and 2006/07.
- While several concrete instances from reliable sources in Australia (for e. g. Arun Ambalavanar of Sydney and Ranjan Abeysekara prison visitor at Baxter) indicate that men in the north fled as boat people or took legal paths in order to escape conscription.
- It is likely that some (or many?) Tamils in Lanka today FEEL that they are disadvantaged and that there is discrimination. The degree to which this is valid is a contentious arena, but to the extent that this opinion is held reporters must necessarily present the case.
- Where Australian reporters have consistently failed is in the absence of any sustained effort to tap the desires and moves of Sinhala, Muslim, Malay, Colombo Chetty and Burgher young men and women living in the south and to compare the degree of underemployment and unemployment ina typical southern locality with that of say Trincomalee or Kilinochchi.
- Another racket within Sri Lanka, onvolving Sinhalese as well, is for asylum seeking individuals to lodge falsified complaints at the local Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka indicating noticeable victimization at the hands of the security forces. These included letters purporting to come from some security force campasking them to report at such and such at such and such date. Maddumabandara and Ekanayake of Vavuniya were arrested on 28th February 2012 in possession of the wherewithal for such purposes and it appears they charged Rs 10,000 for such letters. See http://defence.lk/new.asp?fname=police_investigates_on_bogus_asylum_seekers_20120625_058. Also refer to the recent news item in a govt voice-piece newspaper entitled “TNA candidate revealed as kingpin in human smuggling racket” — http://defence.lk/new.asp?fname=TNA_candidate_revealed_as_kingpin_in_human_smuggling_racket_20120726_02.
- Readers should also consult the report presented last Sunday 22 July by a team of Sinhalese reporters from the Sunday Times who gained empirical material from Udappu [on the northwestern shores] and elsewhere — http://www.sundaytimes.lk/120722/news/risking-blue-waters-for-greener-pastures-6714.html.
9. Also note that the Australian has continued the same lines of contention re David Anthony –with its wider connotations – in the Friday paper giving it considerable prominence and adding a striking photograph. The title s of two articles alongside each other are: (a) “UN Plea ignored as refugee sent home” and (b) “Don’t let the influx hit those in need.”
10. Note this item filed by Chaminda Perera in the Daily News, 27 July: Lankan asylum seeker describes harrowing experience in Aussie detention centre “A Sri Lankan asylum seeker who was deported by the Australian authorities yesterday requested Sri Lankans not to leave for Australia through illegal means. He said that a human smuggler has brought him to Australia promising him asylum status through a forged passport and ended up in a detention camp in Melbourne. Dayan Anthony of Negombo who left for Australia in April 2010, said he faced harassment in detention camps. “I was hand cuffed and beaten by the Australian authorities”, he said. He showed the media how he was harassed by them while in detention. Anthony who left for Down Under through an agent said that Sri Lankans in detention camps in Australia will have to face the same situation in that country. Various people related to LTTE diaspora in Australia are spreading false information on Sri Lanka. They convinced the asylum seekers that Sri Lankan authorities are harassing the Tamil people who are returning to Sri Lanka. Anthony said said that he was questioned by the Criminal Investigation Department when he arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday and later they released him. “Sri Lanka has become the safest place on the earth after the LTTE was wiped out from the country. ‘I did not face any type of harassment at the hands of Sri Lankan authorities after I returned to the country”, he said. “Certain segments in Australia who pay allegiance to the LTTE sympathizers say Sri Lankan asylum seekers deported by foreign countries are sent directly to Boosa dentention camp and they are harassed inhumanly by the Sri Lankan military. Anthony said he himself realized how friendly the Sri Lankan officials are. He said that he is completely a free person after 27 months in detention.” ALSO SEE a video of his interview at http://dailymirror.lk/video/20634-untold-story.html.