Court order blocks deportation of Sri Lankan Tamil family from Australia

A Melbourne court’s emergency injunction over phone blocked the Australian government’s move to deport a Sri Lankan Tamil family, above, (Image: Twitter) by forcing a plane carrying them home to land at Darwin around 2am on Friday, Australian Associated Press reported.

Later in the day, a federal court granted the family time till 4pm on Wednesday (Sept 4) to file a fresh application seeking permission to stay in the country on behalf of their two-year-old daughter Tharunicca born in Australia along with her four-year-old sister Kopika.

According to law of the land, only children born to Australian citizens and permanent residents acquire citizenship by birth.

Taking part in a TV news programme before the court’s ruling, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the Sri Lankan family had run out of legal options and the government was in no way bound to protect them.

Tharunicca’s parents Priya and Nadesalingam should realise that they are not refugees. Courts had rejected their applications seeking asylum, Dutton said.

But Angel Aleksov, the lawyer representing Tharunicca, told ABC that Dutton can still use his powers to allow her and the rest of the family to continue living in Australia since the family has a strong bond with the community and the children were born there.

A signature campaign drew many as 200,000 people backing the family’s stay in the Queensland town of Biloela. Dozens of people protested outside the Melbourne airport on Thursday night as officials put the family on a chartered flight to Sri Lanka.

Eighteen months ago, the family was arrested in a pre-dawn raid by immigration officials and put in detention in Melbourne.

Priya and Nadesalingam say they will face persecution if returned to Sri Lanka because of their respective families’ former links with the terrorist group, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which was crushed by security forces after a 26-year-old conflict in 2009.

The two arrived by boat separately from Sri Lanka in 2012 to escape the civil war. Priya fled her village after witnessing her fiancé and five other men being burned alive by Tamil Tigers.

Labor’s home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally has urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to intervene as a parent and a Christian.