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Racial attacks on Indian students in Australia

One was robbed and stabbed, another was burnt in a petrol bomb attack

Racial attacks on Indian students in Australia
"Curry bashing" name is geneally used by attackers
NRI LEADERS blamed the media in India of blowing out the issue….

Sydney, June 03, 2009
Surjeet Singh

Nardeep Singh, 21, a nursing student at the Chisholm Institute in Dandenong, in Melbourne's east, was attacked with a knife by a group of males in suburban Melbourne after they stopped him and demanded cigarettes and money. Mr Singh told them that he was a non-smoker, then he was asked for money, when the student refused, he was slashed across the chest. This incident have caused an outcry in India and later worldwide.

Four students from India were allegedly assaulted in Melbourne. A student, Shravan Kumar, who hail from Andhra Pradesh is in serious condition.

"Curry bashing" name is geneally used by attackers. The court heard seven friends had met at a Footscray McDonald's store on January 22 and decided to go out "curry bashing", which meant assaulting and robbing an Indian.

The police:
• will not officially acknowledge any particular ethnic group is a target, or that any other group is carrying out the crimes.
• But in every case the victims told police their attackers were Africans
• there was no indication the attackers had deliberately targeted the student.
• We would say this is an opportunistic fight. It could have happened to any individual of any nationality.
• Is reluctance to admit they have trouble with African gangs -- or gangs of any particular ethnicity

There are approximately 90,000 Indian students studying in Australia. In Victoria state alone, in just one year, about 1450 people of Indian origin were attacked- punched, kicked, raped or robbed.

Accoding to local media, Dr Yadu Singh said there had been at least 20 bashings of Indian students in Sydney in the past month, but most went unreported out of fear. He estimated over 100 attacks on Indian students in the last 12 months.

Under instructions from the Indian Government, the Indian Consulate in Sydney has formed a committee to address the concerns about the welfare of Indian students in Australia, said Dr Singh, who heads the committee.

The Indian media's coverage of the plight of Indian students in Australia has been "irresponsible" and could backfire on Indians who have lived here for years, a local community leader fears.

Prof. Ashok Mehta, who came to Australia in 1966, told NRIpress that Australian are not the racists. He said:

• We are concerned about the official protests from the Indian Government and the burning in India of effigies of Kevin Rudd

• This kind of violence that should shame and alarm us. Keep in mind it's not just Indians being bashed, but people born right here who are kicked unconscious at railway platforms and outside nightclubs
• Now question rises: Where are the punishments? Where are the police? How did we fail and break the law?
• It's only when the Indian students cleverly claimed they were victims of racism. These muggings became an international conflict involving the leaders of India and Australia
• Australian leaders are scrambling to protect their reputation in the world. It is also the question of $2 billion a year earning from these foreign students

If India media and Indian leaders are telling us we're too prejudiced, it is happening every where. Just think in your own country- Hindu-Muslim bloodfests, 1984 sikh riots and perfected the caste system.

We must keep patience and our leaders are working seriously:

  • Prime Minister Kevin Rudd himself assured full security to Indian students and reassured the Indian government that Australia is not a racist country…
  • The Deputy Prime Minister has already announced that international student representatives would be invited to a Roundtable to discuss issues affecting their study experience including accommodation, safety and welfare.
    Most of the victims say: many of their attackers are Islanders, Africans, and sometimes Asians who are also new in this country
  • Why Indian students are soft targeted by thieves and thugs? In general, Indians/NRIs are very peaceful, soft spoken and hard workers. Most of the students work late shifts in 7-Eleven stores, taxis and gas stations. They live in the area where rent is cheap and not safe. In these areas, thieves and thugs are every where. They target the students when they walk alone and late at night. This is the reason, the students are bashed and robbed by thieves and thugs.

Most of the thieves and thugs bash each other and Indians but call us a racist nation is not grossly fair.

Mr. Rajadhyaksha of livemint wrote that Indian students are attacked on the streets of Australia is a shame. But it is also a shame that thousands have to go there every year because they do not have access to half-decent education in their own country.

Indian students enrolled in Australian universities, which are not exactly the best universities in the world. Yet, thousands of Indian students go there every year, and pay hefty fees to do so. Why?

Indian universities have clearly failed in this task. Most are sinks of mediocrity. While a lot of the debate on higher education in India focuses on the elite institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management.

India needs both better and more universities if it is to build future competitiveness. China is investing heavily to create world-class universities. It is taking the elitist route.


Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said :

• The Victorian Government, Melbourne has today committed to amending “Sentencing Guidelines” to make hate crimes more cognizable.
• For the covenience of local students, Victoria Police has established a community reference group to facilitate communication on safety issues with the Indian community in Victoria.
• The hotline, phone number 1800 has been set up. It is staffed by volunteers who are fluent in English and Hindi to provide support, information and advice to Indian students

Premier of Victoria, Mr John Brumby said today: “I can assure the victims of these crimes and their families, that we do everything in our power to track down the perpetrators of these cowardly acts and bring them to justice.

“Melbourne will hold a Harmony Walk on the afternoon of Sunday 12 July to celebrate and reaffirm our state’s tolerance, diversity and multiculturalism. Victorians come from more than 230 nations, speak 180 languages, and follow more than 116 religions … and we want to see everyone come together for the inaugural Harmony Walk.”

More than 95,000 Indian students joined Australian institutions in 2008, thereby contributing billions to the economy. It has become Victoria’s biggest export earner. In Melbourne itself, there are more than 50,000 Indian students


Federation of Indian Students of Australia Inc ( FISA )

6000 Students rally with a candle-lit vigil

FISA condemns false messages

May 31, 2009

It has come to our attention that certain elements from within the community are spreading false and misleading information. A sample SMS reads:

"Guys show ur support and come to Fed Sqr, there's been one more attack on Indian Students at hoppers crossing today and this evening they entered in gurudwara beat one lady and her husband in gurudwara after piece march. our 3 guys has been arrested but the offenders are still free. It is the time to raise our voice. plz forwarrd this to all."

FISA totally rejects such messages. These are spread by bigots and fear-mongerers who want to spread fear. FISA organised a Peace Rally on 31 May 2008 from Royal Melbourne Hospital to Parliament- followed by a candle-lit vigil. In starting the march from Royal Melbourne Hospital, we hoped to draw attention to the most recent case of assault against Sravan. In labeling the rally a 'Peace March,' we aimed to highlight FISA's commitment to only non-violent modes of political expression.

The rally was hugely successful where there were over 6000 students, supporters and members of community were present. The message of non-violence and non-cooperation was received very well. Our Action List was presented to various people during the rally. We are further assured that the Victorian and Australian government are seriously considering actioning some sort of a solution.

We welcome the authorities to work with Indian students to achieve win-win for all involved. This is to clarify that FISA organised peace rally ended at 2 pm. If you receive any such messages you must verify facts with the Police, Consulate General of India or FISA on (1300 FISA 4 u). We welcome all enquiries.

Please do not support any rally or protest that suggest breaking the law and civil harmony. These acts only add fuel.

Federation of Indian Students of Australia Inc ( FISA ) - Integrating, Empowering and Representing Indian Students in Australia.

FISA is a one stop information portal that provides a meeting point, a place where diverse cultures meet and flow together, a place where people of different origins, different cultures merge into one whole combined identity.




  • 2009: Sourabh Sharma robbed by racist gang on train


  • In an Indian grocery, Sukhraj Singh was beaten and was in coma for weeks in Dec.
  • Former Australian Medical Association president Mukesh Haikerwal assaulted in Williamstownin Sep.
  • Student, taxi driver Jalvinder Singh stabbed by a passenger, in April
  • Student Kanan Kharbanda partially blinded in gang attack at railway station in March
  • Curry bashing: Dr Zhongjun Cao was killed in Footscray after a gang of youths, who thought he was Indian in January