Sunday, March 1, 2009

Indian student attacked in Australia

Wednesday, May 7, 2008 22:57 IST

MELBOURNE: A 21-year-old Indian university student has been badly injured after he was beaten up by group of people apparently in a latest racially motivated attack.

The student, who wanted to be known only as David, has been knocked out in a vicious attack, The Age reported on Wednesday. David, who has been in Australia for just two-and-a-half months, was walking home from a railway station at night when four men stopped him and asked for a cigarette. "The four people surrounded me from the four corners and went behind me, they smashed a bottle on my head and I became unconscious and after that I don't know what happened. They were beating me a lot," David said.

"They punched me, kicked me," he said, adding "I asked people driving on the other side 'help, help', they don't listen to me." David, who was hospitalised for 10 hours, received stitches to his head and treatment for severe facial swelling, a black eye and broken nose. In April, 23-year-old Indian student Jalvinder Singh, who was working as a part-time taxi driver here, was stabbed and left to bleed on the roadside allegedly by a passenger.

After years of violence, voices finally being heard
The Age (AU)
Carol Nader
February 20, 2009

Pressing home a point: Raj Dudeja believes the stories published in his Indian Voice newspaper have raised police awareness. Photo: Penny Stephens

THE two Indian students were walking in Sunshine, doing nothing to draw attention to themselves.

A speeding car came out of nowhere. They narrowly avoided being hit, but could not avoid the baseball bats that struck them soon after the car stopped and a couple of people emerged from the vehicle.

One was left bleeding and the other had a fractured arm, they told the Indian Voice newspaper in August 2007. Both were terrified and stressed by the random attack.

Raj Dudeja, 62, the editor of the Melbourne-based Indian Voice, says these stories have been around a long time. The monthly English-language paper has published a litany of them. "The main concern was (that) when these matters were reported to the police … the police were not taking any action," he says. "Sometimes students are scared, they are timid, they believe that it will affect their visa status if they get involved in any police matters."

Mr Dudeja, a member of the newly established Police Indian Western Reference Group, believes the ugly stories his paper has been publishing have contributed to raising police awareness. He is heartened that at last a group is talking about how to end the violence.

The stories of victimisation have prompted Amit Suri, an Australian-born law student of Indian ethnicity, to start an organisation to help Indian students adapt to life in this country. He hopes to set up a program that will help migrants do everything from the basics, such as setting up a bank account, to getting support in cases of assault.

Mr Suri cites the case of a young Indian man targeted on a train. "They grabbed his head so that the turban came off … and that caused him embarrassment," he says.

He says the attacks are not the fault of the Indians.

"They're not the ones trying to attract attention. It takes them a while to integrate and feel confident to adapt to Australian society."

So is Australia racist? You bet!

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