The fate of two Punjabi youths among 600 illegal migrants is uncertain after the Papua New Guinea police today stormed the Manus Island detention centre and whisked them away in buses, more than three weeks after the centre was decommissioned.
Papua New Guinea is a country in southwestern Pacific.
Ravinder Singh and Manjit Singh were part of a large group living on the island since July 2013. Their residential address in Punjab is unknown. As per their TV and radio interviews, the immigrants travelled in separate boats to Australia in 2013, but were denied entry as Australia disallows migration to the country via boats.
Ravinder and Manjit spoke extensively to SBS Radio of Australia on their “pitiful state” in the detention centre hours before the police action.
They said travel agents in Punjab had promised them migration to Australia, but abandoned them in Malaysia. Later, a Pakistani agent in Malaysia tricked them into travelling to Australia in a boat, but they ended on Manus Island. They claimed to have lost nearly 15,000 US dollars (Rs 9.7 lakh) each in trying to migrate to Australia.
The two also said the local population wanted migrants out. The stand-off, going on for years, had escalated last week when water and electricity supply to the centre was snapped.
The police action triggered an outrage on social media and media outlets, as the immigrants, including a journalist identified as Behrouz Boochani, claimed they were beaten up and forcibly taken away. The journalist was later released.
Papua New Guinea officials posted videos showing a new and swanky accommodation prepared for 600 migrants calling them asylum-seekers. There was no report that the migrants had reached the place till the filing of the report.
19 Mar 2019
20 Mar 2019