Indian Students Brutally Attacked in Australia, Subject to Racism, Raises Questions

Posted on May 28, 2009 in Society


-Anshul Tewari

Four students from India who had gone to study in Australia were assaulted by a group of Australian teenagers this week. Among the victims was Shravan Kumar, 25, who is in a critical condition and fighting for his life in the hospital. “Doctors are still unsure if Kumar will survive and if he does, he will lose his vision or memory”, Kumar’s friend, Sinivas Gandhi, said.

The four Indians were first subject to racist comments and were told to go back to India, following which they were brutally attacked by the boys who used screwdriver as a weapon and were allegedly drunk. Three of the four Indians are now in a better condition but Kumar still faces the fear of death.

When Sinivas approached the Police for help, they were asked to take care of their own security. The Police also said that they “can’t go on protecting each and everyone”.

The attack, which was racially motivated, could have serious repercussions on the $3.5 million Australian education industry. Although the External Affairs minister of India, S M Krishna, has asked Australia to ensure the safety of Indian students, the behaviour of Australians towards Indians is at stake. Indians have been subject to racism in Australia more often in the past, but nothing this serious had happened earlier. Even on the cricket field, the Indian players have faced racial comments.

The incident did not stop here. The house of the victimized Indians was burgled, raising even more questions.

Violent attacks on Indians have been growing over the last few years and have raised serious concern for aspiring students who wish to study in Australia.

We, Indians, have a tradition wherein, we treat our guests as being equal to God, also known as, atithi devo bhava. But the treatment of Indians abroad has raised the question that are Indians still being subject to racism? Is India being treated as a downtrodden community?

With advancing technology and development around the world, the global community is expected to think at a higher level. The fact that Indians are leaving their mark everywhere proves that Indians are a part of the active global community. When there are people like Barack Obama treating Indians and the Indian community in the USA as fellow citizens, there are people like the ones who assaulted Indians on the basis of race.

With such acts being committed in various parts of the world, Indians abroad are feeling threatened. Anti-racism, which is a part of India’s foreign policy, is being offended.

But the question still prevails, shall we keep mum at such acts or should the youth get together in protest against such acts. Indians, who are the third largest minority group in Australia, form an important part of its Gross Domestic Product, contributing to the corporate industries, travel as well as education. So, is the treatment of Indians in Australia justified, or do we need to raise our voices to make sure that the world hears us?

Is it time to get suppressed yet again, or are we to be treated as one amongst the league of equals?

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