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Deny India access to detainees: senator

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An Australian senator has criticised the government’s decision to allow the Indian Consular officials to assess the identity of 157 asylum seekers currently being held in a detention centre in the country.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young opposed the move on Monday, stating that “there is no basis in law for India’s involvement in the assessment of these asylum claims in Australia.”

The Indian Consular officials are expected to assess soon the identity of 157 asylum-seekers being held in the Curtin detention centre.

The group was detained on July 7 this year when their boat was intercepted near Christmas Island.

“The Indian government doesn’t process people’s claims in India, it is all left to the UNHCR, and they shouldn’t be involved in the process here in Australia,” she said.

“This is nothing more than a smokescreen from the Abbott government. Sri Lankan refugees have made it to Australian soil and they are asking for our help,” she said.

She demanded that the group be assessed by Australian authorities.

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