Every year many Indian students go to United States, Australia, Russia and many other countries to pursue their education with a lot of aspirations and goals. Shravan Kumar, a young student from Andhra Pradesh went to Australia to study automobile engineering. At that time he didn’t know that Australia was a dangerous place for Indian students like him to stay and study. Many people think that Australia is God’s own place, where humanity and tolerance prevail. Shravan Kumar too thought that Australia would be safe. Recently Shravan Kumar was attacked by two youths in Melbourne. The teenagers used screwdrivers in the assault.
Racist attacks, though not a new phenomenon in Australia, have been very violent in the last few weeks. In the past three weeks, six Indians have been attacked; this explains the intensity of racism in Australia, especially in certain places like Melbourne, Victoria, and Sydney. Racist assaults have been carried out on Indian students for many years, but they went unnoticed. However,this time the media gave much attention to this issue and let everyone know about racism.
Aussies call these racist attacks “Curry Bashing”. Even a child in Australia gets excited to go curry bashing. Some of the Australians who hate Indians refer to them as “pesky and smelly”. Not all Australians are racists and such attacks are committed only by some uncouth elements of the Australian society.
Racism is present not only in Australia. Attacks against Indians are very common and rampant in countries like United States and Russia, where a large number of Indians go for educational purposes. In Russia cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg are unsafe.
Local authorities including the Indian embassy are insensitive to these issues. Pertaining to the recent attacks in Australia, authorities are slow in response. Australian police, who are insensitive to racist attacks, have reacted violently to Indian student’s peaceful sit-down protests. This shows that the Australian police are biased.
Reacting to the racist attacks, about 4000 Indian students studying in Australia staged protests in the form of rallies outside the Royal Melbourne hospital, and at Flinders Street train station, with placards, banners and slogans against the racist attacks. Officers arrested eighteen students on the charge of breaching peace.
In India, students of Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia under the banner of All India Student’s Association (AISA) held a protest against racist assaults.
Many Indian students across the globe have been expressing their anger and condemnation against racist attacks on Indian students in Australia through social networking sites like Facebook and Orkut. Online protests are taking place on these networking sites. As many as seven communities demanding justice for Indian students in Australia have seen over 1000 members registering themselves within a week.
Even bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan have condemned the attacks on Indian students. Amitabh Bachchan turned down the offer of an honorary degree from Australian university in the wake of the attacks. Aamir Khan has called the attacks on Indians in Australia “a shame” and very disturbing to hear.
Let’s hope the Australian government will respond well to all these protests and take the necessary actions for the safety of Indian students in Australia.
R J Stallin Sanamandara