The attack on 29-year old Jaspreet Singh, yet another Indian, in Melbourne confirms that the increasing attacks on Indians are racial in nature. It is time Canberra came out of the denial mode and addressed the matter with the seriousness it deserves.
Srinath Reddy Tera,
The latest attack has reinforced the fact that the Australian government is not serious about arresting the trend. New Delhi should bring more diplomatic pressure on Canberra to crack down on the perpetrators of such heinous acts.
The attack on Jaspreet Singh is regrettable. Contrary to the claims by the Australian authorities, three attacks in 10 days targeted at Indians sound more racially motivated than opportunistic. Will the Australian government accept absurd explanations if its citizens were attacked in India? It should come out of the denial mode and show some responsibility.
As an Australian, I can understand India's anger at the Melbourne police saying there was no evidence of racial motivation in the recent attacks on Indian students in Australia. I am angry at them too. But the Australian police always say "there is no evidence of ..." unless they have concrete proof that would stand up in court. I believe the attacks are the work of a small racist group as I have found that almost all Australians have no racist feelings towards Indians. We are very, very upset that the attacks have occurred in our country, which is why we are so sensitive to any suggestion that we condone them.
To deny the existence of racism in Australia is like denying the existence of the caste system in India. The statement by the Australian authorities that more people die of road accidents in Mumbai and Delhi is not particularly helpful. Also, the use of terms such as "media frenzy" will not help the cause. As an article in an Australian newspaper pointed out, years of deliberate underreporting, fudging of numbers and statistical manipulations are responsible for the present state of violence.
The problem is of recent origin. Indian parents make great sacrifices to educate their children. This is alien to the Australian culture, where a majority of youngsters leave home early. Their financial status is not as comfortable as that of Indians. This leads to a great deal of resentment. The targets of such frustration are very obvious. Policing the streets is not enough. The Australian society should develop measures to bring together the diverse traditions.
East Blaxland, NSW
It is true that necessary action needs to be taken to prevent more attacks on Indian students in Australia. But the knee-jerk reactions of the media and the public in India - branding the attacks racist - are hasty, unwarranted and smack of a persecution complex carried over from a colonial past. Australia is a tolerant, multicultural and culturally responsive society and is home to people from all countries, besides India. In the absence of attacks on Asians other than Indians, it is rather presumptuous to call them racist in nature.
That there has been an increase in the number of muggings and violent attacks in Sydney and Melbourne in recent years is regrettable. I have personally felt unsafe on late night trains to remote suburbs in both cities. Nevertheless, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard was being perfectly truthful when she said, "By world standards we have a very low homicide rate." Her statement was not a resort to statistics, lacking in compassion - it was plain fact.
Sydney and Melbourne are home to people from at least 120 countries. Indeed, 40 per cent of the people in Australia are immigrants or children of immigrants. Therefore, the presence of Indian students or Indians is in no way remarkable. They are not particularly conspicuous. It is the case, however, that anyone moving to the two cities needs local advice on which places are best avoided at night and why, especially when alone. References in the Indian media to "racist attacks," "heinous crimes," "killed because he was Indian," etc., reflect a lack of knowledge of the reality of life in contemporary Australia.
One cannot condone the deplorable attacks on Indians living in Australia, but we should examine the circumstances leading to them. Many Indians misuse the Australian Immigration system. They grab the lower end jobs in the market, which constitute the lifeline of the poor and underprivileged sections. In the late 1990s and the early 21st century, Indians working abroad were respected as they were qualified professionals responding to the job demands in the developed world. But the perception has changed now.
Are such attacks imminent in the U.S.? Looking at the way the Indians behave, I am afraid so. Most of the Indians who have moved to the U.S. bring their parents who have retired from their jobs in India and make them free baby-sitters. Lately, these able-bodied younger old people have started grabbing the low-paid jobs and part-time jobs of students, most of them without work permits. These acts are gradually bringing down the good image of Indians in the U.S.