Man sets himself on fire after visa rejected
By Hugh Widjaya
A Sri Lankan asylum seeker in his 20s is in a critical condition after setting himself on fire in inner western Sydney, Wednesday evening.
After finishing work at the Balmain dockyards, the cleaner, only identified as Janathanan, doused himself in petrol, then set himself alight. Co-workers did their best to put out the flames, but he suffered first degree burns to 70% of his body.
The Tamil asylum seeker had been living in Australia for the past 18 months on a bridging visa, and had been told Monday that his application for a protection visa had been rejected a second time.
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Scott Thompson said the Refugee Review Tribunal, who made the final visa decision, did not fear for the Sri Lankan’s mental health. Attempts are being made to contact and allow the Sri Lankan’s 65 year old mother and brother to enter Australia to be with Janarthanan.
Currently there are 20 0000 Tamil asylum seekers in Australia on bridging visas, who fear torture should they go back to Sri Lanka. The Tamils, who fought for independence against the Sri Lankan military were finally defeated after a 26 year long war in 2009, which killed between eighty to a hundred thousand people.