‘Violence against Indian students in Australia; an unsolved controversy ’

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The increasing attacks on the Indian students in Australia are a matter of concern and in some instances they are also interpreted as racial attacks?

News  captions like  ‘Indian student attacked in Australia, and ‘Racism on growth in Australia’ make the headlines quite often but unfortunately  there has hardly been any  major investigation into these attacks  and  barely any outcome of the official probes has been  reported  by the  media.

Nobody can challenge the fact that Indians have the right to feel worried about the spate of attacks as Australia is one of the major destinations for the students from India.

With the alarming number of cases coming in front from Australia, it surely demands an answer as why the Indians are attacked, knifed, burnt or murdered in a country which is famous all over the world for its multi-cultural harmony.

There is no convincing reason behind these attacks and the people are not sure why the people from Indian background are targeted, but yes quite often this issue remains a topic of debate in Australia, with the Indian councillors, politicians, leaders raising their voice against this issue, but still no outcome.

Neither they have found the answers as why Indian students are so vulnerable to the attacks and nor they are satisfied with the probes which have been done in this regard.

Do the victims have some kind of a common profile or background? Are the attacks concentrated in a specific area? How many of these attacks could have had a racist motive?, still these questions are unanswered.

Yes, one thing which has came in front is that most of the victims of the racial attacks were either  the one enrolled in vocational courses,  or those living in poorer neighbourhoods to save money.

As per the data available, there were  120,913 Indian students enrolled to undertake an Australian qualification in 2009.

In the year 2007-2008, 1,447 Indians had been victims of crime including assaults and robberies in the state of Victoria in Australia. However, the statistics reportedly show that Indians were not over represented in assaults.

On 29 April 2008, in Melbourne an estimated five hundred Indian taxi drivers protested at Flinders Street Station with a sit-in protest following the stabbing of a taxi driver.

 A similar protest was held on 19 May 2008 in Adelaide, where about fifty taxi drivers protested after an assault on an Indian taxi driver. The Victorian Government brought in mandatory safety shields later that year, but this was met with protests because of the costs

After the much hype  incidents in May 2009, over 4,000 Indian Students staged a protest opposite Federation Square in  Melbourne on 31 May 2009, saying attacks on Indian students were motivated by racism and were not being sufficiently addressed by the Australian Government.

On 7 to 10 June 2009, rallies in the Sydney CBD and at Harris Park were attended by hundreds of Indians and supporters. The rally started at Sydney Town Hall and marched to Hyde Park. Some attending the rally specifically mentioned Harris Park (a Sydney suburb where 20% of the population is Indian), as an area where Indians were frequently assaulted, and called on police to do more to make that suburb safe.

The students said they were considered “soft targets”. Some Indian protestors were reported to be carrying hockey sticks and baseball bats. According to police, the protest was sparked by an attack on Indian allegedly by Lebanese men.

Australia has reason to worry about the attacks too. Education is the country’s biggest export – after coal and iron ore – and international students  in Australia are  an asset for the Australian economy.  So Australia could easily lose a major business market because of the attacks.

It is a no-brainer that Australian authorities need to investigate each of these attacks thoroughly to come to a considered and precise explanation as to why they happened and suppress the growing distrust between the two countries.

A report in 2012 by the Australian Council for Educational Research found that the number of education visas issued to Indians had fallen 71 per cent in five years.

The report said that the violence concerns, the high Australian dollar, a crackdown on visas and changes to residency rules had contributed to that.

The report found that in 2006 and 2007, 96 per cent of Indians who applied for a visa to study higher education in Australia were successful. But by 2011-2012, only 50 per cent of applications were successful. Visa applications rose slightly in 2012-13.

While Indian student numbers in Australia have more than halved in recent years, they have quadrupled in Canada and doubled in the UK and New Zealand.

What is the reason  behind all these attacks is still an unsolved mystery. With some referring to these attacks as racial attacks, others deny  this possibility, but what’s the actual reason behind all these heinous activities still remains a mystery.

 

Flashback  of  attacks on Indian students

December 2013

Manrajwinder Singh was beaten with a stick and punched in the head on his first night out in Melbourne.

July 2013

The Sikh driver, Jagroop Singh, suffered malicious and unprovoked attack by an Australian couple. Jagroop was punched and racially abused as his turban was ripped off..

June 2013

Another racist attack involved Himanshu Goyal who was supposedly assaulted. The Indian entrepreneur, who is the owner of a restaurant in Ballarat situated near Melbourne, got verbally abused and beaten up by a gang of teenagers.

December 2012

There was an allegation of a racial attack on a bus when two Indian women were attacked. Apparently, a strongly built woman slapped the young Indian women while she abused them racially.

June 2012

Another taxi driver of India origin was attacked as well as abused as his car got smashed with baseball bats by a gang of men. The attackers got hold of Harpreet Singh who was driving through Sunshine suburb in Melbourne.

December 2011

A 22-year-old Indian taxi driver Ravisher Singh was attacked by four men who ripped off his turban and repeatedly punched him during the assault in Melbourne.

July 19, 2010

Six youths attacked an Indian student Bharat Thapar, 24, in South Oakleigh, resulting in serious facial injuries after he got involved in a brawl trying to save a compatriot from being beaten up, the latest in a series of assaults on the community in Australia.

July 5, 2010

Hervir Singh, an Indian student was attacked by a group of teenage boys who tried to snatch his money while he was walking home from his part-time job. Singh, a hospitality student, was attacked late at night in Ringwood area.

Feb 2010

29-year-old Jaspreet Singh was set ablaze by a group of four attackers in Melbourne.

Jan 26, 2010

Two Indian students were allegedly assaulted by a group of thugs in central Melbourne. The accused had allegedly made comments to the duo before one of the students was pushed to the ground and kicked.

Jan 3, 2010

Nitin Garg, a 21-year-old Indian student, who migrated from Punjab, was fatally stabbed in the abdomen by assailants in Cruickshank Park in Melbourne’s Yarraville while on his way to work.

Dec 9,2009

A 23-year-old youth was stabbed in the chest by unidentified assailants here on Wednesday. The student, who was also a cabbie, was attacked and left to bleed on a Brunswick West street.

Nov 8, 2009

Sai Ratan Tiwari, a 22-year-old student pursuing Bachelors of Information Systems, was punched on his face by a group of Australians..

Nov 3, 2009

A 36-year-old Amrit Goyal, an engineering student, was racially abused by a group of Australians, including a woman, who also punched him in his left eye.  

June 28, 2009

Two men, reported to be Indians, were allegedly struck with a beer bottle by two juveniles in Sydney.

June 22, 2009

A 24 year- old Indian Mir Khazim Ali Khan was attacked by a group of teenage thugs near is residence as he was coming out of a hair saloon in Melbourne.

June 11, 2009

22-year-old Indian allegedly assaulted by a teenager in Adelaide’s busy market area of Rundle Mall after making “rude” comments about his turban .

June 7, 2009

A 23-year-old Indian student was beaten up for the second time in a fortnight by a group of youths in Melbourne.

May 31, 2009

A drunken man in Melbourne reportedly bashed an Indian taxi driver from Hyderabad.

May 27, 2009

A 21-year-old was slashed with a box-cutter by a group of men on a college campus in Melbourne.

May 25, 2009

Indian student Baljinder Singh was robbed and stabbed in Melbourne.

May 24, 2009

Sravan Kumar Theerthala, a 25-year-old Indian student was brutally assaulted in Melbourne along with three other students.

May 9, 2009

Sourabh Sharma, 21, was beaten up by a group of young men as he travelled on a train.

  Note : Data has been collected from different online sources 

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