News National Biloela family fall into each other’s arms as little Tharnicaa leaves hospital
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Biloela family fall into each other’s arms as little Tharnicaa leaves hospital

Biloela family still stuck in detention despite visas.
Out of hospital and on the road to recovery, little Tharnicaa Murugappan snuggles with dad Nades. Photo supplied
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The long-running saga of a Tamil family’s battle to get back to their home and friends in the Queensland town of Biloela has taken a bitter-sweet twist.

Four year old Tharnicaa Murugappan has been released from Perth Children’s Hospital almost two weeks after being medically evacuated from Christmas Island with a blood infection caused by untreated pneumonia.

However, health officials say she will require eight more weeks of specialist care.

In the meantime, the Murugappan family will remain in a community detention residence in Perth.

Father Nades, mother Priya and Australian-born Tharnicaa and her sister, Kopika, have been locked up for more than three years while their fight against deportation has gone through the courts.

During this time, a national campaign for their release has grown ever louder.

No better off

Advocates for the family say Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to transfer them to Perth from Christmas Island, where they had been for about two years, makes no improvement to their situation, as they remain in community detention.

Protests were staged across Australia on Saturday calling for them to be allowed to return to Biloela.

It is understood the family is not able to stay elsewhere other than the Perth residence. Nor can visitors spend the night, and neither parent is permitted to work.

A statement released on behalf of the family on Sunday said they were relieved to be out of immigration detention.

However, mum Priya is “anxious to now be forced into a new form of detention and very stressed to not know what is going to happen to her family” after Tharnicaa’s treatment is finished.

“Thank you to the doctors who take care of Tharnicaa in hospital,” she was quoted as saying.

“We hope soon she is much better.

“Please, we want [to] go back to Bilo. We [are] safe in Bilo. My husband [can] work. My daughters have friends. Bilo is home.”

In an open letter on Friday, 26 Australian Anglican bishops implored the federal government to grant the family visas, giving them the chance to rebuild their lives.

-with AAP