‘Aus presents bats to Indian ministers for asylum deal’

‘Aus presents bats to Indian ministers for asylum deal’
Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison presented these cricket bats signed by the two players to two Indian ministers to secure their cooperation in accepting 157 asylum seekers detained off the Australian coast over a month ago.

According to a recent report in ‘The Daily Telegraph’, Morrison used a ‘secret weapon when he flew to India to secure the first asylum seeker deal with India’.

‘When he met with the Indian Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, he handed them a pair of Kookaburra cricket bats signed by former Australian Test
bowlers Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath,’ the report said adding, ‘Both were happy to sign the bats as a
favour to Morrison, after he told them what they were for’.

Kookaburra is a famous Australian company that manufactures sports goods.

In New Delhi, official sources said the ministers received the signed bats from Morrison during his visit to India.

The Age reported that the news has received widespread criticism on social media as many felt that the act suggested that the players condoned the government’s asylum seeker policy.

However, Lee’s manager Neil Maxwell said that he was unaware that bats signed for the Immigration Minister would be given to Indian officials involved in asylum seeker deal.

Maxwell said he appreciated the controversy surrounding the bats but says Lee signed them without asking what they would be used for.

He said ‘as a gesture of goodwill’ Lee signs 5,000 crickets bats each year ‘to help people out’. He says many are for charity.

‘I couldn’t tell you where everything else ended up,’ Maxwell said adding unlike some other athletes Lee has decided not to charge for signing bats.

The group of Tamil asylum seekers, who spent over a month on the high seas, were transfered to Curtin Immigration Detention Centre in Western Australia this week.

On Monday, it was confirmed by the Immigration Minister that the asylum seekers will undergo identity checks by Indian consular officials.

Morrison had said that all 157 asylum seekers as economic migrants and that those not taken by India will be sent to either Nauru or Manus Island.


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