Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Racial Violence Continues in Australia

Indian students studying in Australia continue being thrashed and looted. Had the Indian Government paid attention to these incidents earlier, the situation would perhaps have not been as bad as today. It is not a joke that approximately 100 Indian students have been targeted in the last one year. What is even worse is that ordinary violent incidents are not reported due to fear of further torture.

Fresh Attacks
Notwithstanding assurances by the Australian government that it would not tolerate racial violence, another Indian student was beaten up by a group of youth in Melbourne on June 7, 2009, the 11th person from the community to be assaulted within a month. The 23-year-old Kamal Jit, an Indian student was beaten up for the second time in a fortnight by a group of youths here, the 11th person from the community to be assaulted within a space of a month in Australia.

Kamal was found unconscious and bleeding by another Indian student in western suburb of the city. It was the second attack in two weeks on Kamal, who was previously pelted with eggs by several masked men after getting off a late night train at St Albans station in western suburb.

Earlier, the 20-year-old Amrit Pal Singh from Haryana, pursuing a course in community welfare from the Caps Institute of Management, Melbourne, was assaulted near a McDonald’s outlet when he was walking to the place where he worked part-time.

An earlier victim, Shravan Kumar, remained critical after being stabbed with a screwdriver by a group of teenagers in a racist attack that also left his three Indian friends injured here last month.

The latest attack came despite the Australian Government, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, pledging to take all steps to prevent such incidents.

Curry Bashing Terror
It is rather dangerous that these attacks have been spurred by racial hatred. The extent to which Indian students have become special victims of racialism is substantiated by the formation of the anarchical group "Curry Bashing" to terrorize them. As things stand today, they are being targeted everyday. Incidents of the last few days indicate that this group, which has gained considerable notoriety, has become dauntless, and is threatening Indian students in Sydney and Melbourne.

Since the Australian Government is totally responsible for this state of affairs, the Indian Government should not rest content by lodging official complaints only. It cannot be satisfied with the fact that the ministry of external affairs summoned the Australian high commissioner to express concern over the continued attacks on Indian students. The assurance of Australian foreign minister that such incidents will not be allowed to occur in the future is not enough. The Indian Government has to see that the Australian Government should also act as per its promises.

What should be Done?
It is high time for Australia to sort out the causes that make Indian students targets of racism, and to remove them. Can it be possible that the arrival of a large number of Indian students has stirred up this hostility? The causes for Indian students becoming easy targets must also be judged from this point of view. The Indian Government must also keep a watch on the steps being taken by Australia for the protection of Indian students. These should be strong enough to dissuade racists.

Australia must be made to realize that since a large section of brilliant Indian students have chosen that country for higher education, it will stand to gain. If problems of Indians studying or working aboard are overlooked, situations become more aggravated. At a time when India finds itself emerging as a superpower, it is necessary for it to protect the safety of Indians staying abroad.

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