Thousands of Australians, including Victorian Premier John Brumby, on Wednesday treated themselves to Indian cuisine like ‘naan’ and ‘tandoori chicken’ as they joined a mass dining event to protest attacks against Indians.
Mr. Brumby joined a few leading Indian community members like Primus Telecom chief Ravi Bhatia for lunch at Desi Dhaba, an Indian restaurant in the up-market Flinders Street.
The mass dining is part of ‘Vindaloo Against Violence’ campaign launched as a reaction to a spate of attacks against Indians across the city and resulting negative coverage around the world.
Mr. Brumby said the response from Victorians to the initiative demonstrated the community’s commitment to unite in solidarity with the Indians and celebrate multiculturalism.
“Vindaloo against Violence initiative is a unique opportunity for Victorian to unite and send a message that the actions of an ignorant few will not be allowed to undermine the reputation of Melbourne as a peaceful and friendly city,” he said.
Australians, who joined the mass dining, treated themselves to authentic Indian cuisine like ‘naan’, ‘tandoori chicken’ and ‘chicken tikka’
An official statement said the State parliament dinning hall also changed its menu to serve Indian cuisine in support of the event.
The statement said “this great initiative combines that culinary reputation and uses it to send a message that we do not accept violence against any members of our community.”
State government authorities and Victoria Police also expressed their support by thronging Indian restaurants across the city.
Multicultural Liaison officer and leading senior constable Dinesh Nettur said members were keen to get involved and show support for the Indian community.
“We believe this is a simple way for Victorians to say no to all violence as well support our vibrant Indian community. Nothing brings a community together like food and Melbourne is home to some of the world’s best Indian restaurants.”
Mr. Nettur will be joined by Acting Assistant Commissioner Andrew Crisp and a dozen other Melbourne-based police dining in Flinders Street.
The brainchild of Melbourne digital media designer Mia Northrop, the grassroots campaign started as a humble event on social networking site Facebook but has exploded to more than 10,000 registered participants.
The event has also wooed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who also has reportedly joined the event on microblogging site Twitter.