ATTACKS AGAIN IN AUSTRALIA

January 24th, 2010 by Ravi Matah | Posted in News   No Comments »
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Melbourne.  Despite various assurances given by the Australian government, the attacks on Indians go on unabated. Two more Indian youth, including a taxi driver, have been attacked which takes the total to seven attacks in a week. A 25 year old youth was attacked and looted in the Macgregor area of South Brisbane while talking on a phone and his purse was snatched.

Students or taxi drivers of Indian origin have found themselves being targeted in both Melbourne and Sydney, sparking allegations of widespread racism in Australian society and a failure by the law enforcement authorities to act.

Australian envoy to India Peter Varghese admits that the continuing attacks on Indian nationals in his country have the “potential to impact on the broader relationship” between the two sides.

A fall out of the attacks, said Varghese, was that it could have some impact on the number of Indian students that are likely to go to Australia in 2010 although this will not be the sole explanation for the decline in numbers.

Two attacks on Indians proved fatal. While Ranjodh Singh’s partially burnt body was found in New South Wales on December 29, another Indian Nitin Garg was stabbed to death in Melbourne while he was on his way to work on January 2.

The assaults threaten to strain relations between New Delhi and Canberra. Now the reports indicate that there is a sharp fall in overseas students, particularly Indians, applying to study in Australia.

The irony of fate  is that two years ago, Australia’s state and federal governments were warned about the possibility of foreign students facing attacks, but they “weren’t interested in listening”, a group that represents the country’s universities said Saturday.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s office, Immigration Minister Chris Evans’ office and Premier John Brumby’s office were unable to confirm that the body had alerted them to such problems two years ago.

Russell Mahoney, a spokesman for Gillard, said the Department of Education could not immediately find a record of meetings or correspondence with Universities Australia two years ago.

Applications from India fell 46 per cent and those from Nepal, Australia’s fastest-growing market, plummeted by a staggering 85 per cent.

The enrollments of students from India have reportedly dropped following stricter immigration rules and also safety concerns.

It was reported that more private colleges were expected to close as demand dries up. This would result in more harassment to existing students.

Australian police have released CCTV video of Indian student,  Garg moments before he was stabbed by assailants. The 21-year-old Indian, Garg was the first victims to die in the many racist attacks against the community in Australia. Now the hunt for his killers has intensified.

The CCTV video shows Garg, who was stabbed in Australia on January 2, entering the Yarraville train station in Melbourne and walking onto the platform before waiting to catch a train.

“I sincerely hope they know what they are doing. Because of all the publicity and the media, the whole world is watching this case very closely,” said Federation of Indian Students spokesperson Gautam Gupta.

Earlier this month, India had even warned that it may stop students from going to Australia if racist attacks continue.

Indian government should ensure that a student is sent to Australia for a specialised course of study only, which is not available in India. There is no point in sending students there to learn management and cooking when these courses are available in India in abundance.

I categorically state here that if immediate action is not taken to stop such attacks in future, the relations between India and Australia will go sore and it would commence the downfall of the billion dollars education of Australia.

Ravi Matah

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