Friday, 29 January 2010

Indians Attacked in Australia – Please tell me why?

Over the last few months, there have been so many reports of Indians being attacked in various parts of Australia. On the face of it, these attacks seem to be racist, though I am not sure the Indian media is right in painting the Australian Police as racist. The Mail Today has gone to the extent of equating Victoria State’s Police with the Klu Klux Klan.

The Australian Police are undoubtedly guilty of incompetence or even complacency, but calling them racist is not fair. The Indian media is definitely guilty of aggravating the tension. For example, this Economic Times headline (Aussies celebrate R-Day by racially assaulting 2 Indians) does nothing to cool down tempers.

I have a fundamental question regarding these attacks – Why are Indians being targeted and not other South Asians? The logic behind my question is this. If a racist man (or possibly a woman) in Australia hates Indians and decides to randomly attack an ‘Indian-looking’ individual(s), there is a very good chance that the victim might turn out to be a Pakistani or a Sri Lankan or a Bangladeshi. However, all reports seem to indicate that the victims are all Indians, though I did read that a pub in Melbourne turned away a mixed group of Indians and Nepalis.

Unless the attackers have identified their victims in advance and ascertained their nationality, there is no way random racist attacks can successfully target Indians in Australia. Yes, in Australia, Indians easily outnumber other South Asians, but for the 260,000 odd Indians in Australia, there are around 70,000 Sri Lankans, around 20,000 Pakistanis and around 15,000 Bangladeshis. How come one never hears of other South Asians being attacked in Australia?

Is there a possibility that there is any one or any group or any country behind these attacks? Who could possibly profit from aggravating Indo-Aussie relations?

On a different note, many of the victims seem to be students who are working late nights and long hours. More importantly, these students don’t seem to be leading ‘student lives’. It is very obvious that many Indian students in Australia are there to earn money rather than a degree. This is not much different from the situation in the UK where so many people arrive on student visas - to work. Here’s an interesting BBC Report on this.

In the UK, students are allowed to work 20 hours a week. However, many students work much longer hours. There are many who come to the UK on student visas, not attend classes and work full-time. When such ‘students’ get exploited or fail to find work, whose fault is it? In my opinion, it is primarily the ‘student’s fault.’ However, some blame should also be placed at the door of the various British High Commission offices in India which issue British visas to such students. I mean, how can you justify issuing a student visa to one who barely speaks English? Should the Indian government do something about it? I think it should at the very least crack down on immigration consultants in India who collect huge fees and send immigrants to the UK on student visas after promising them that they will get jobs as soon as they land in the UK.


oskeladden said...

The British High Commission seems to have stopped issuing student visas (or, at any rate, accepting applications) in North India now. The pity is that it'll affect a large number of genuine students, who're not going to be able to get onto their courses.

oskeladden said...

Ah, I see on their website that they've advised genuine applicants to apply to centres in western or southern India. Really, there's no reason at all for agents to be involved in the visa process for students. Simply banning them will solve a lot of problems.

Winnowed said...

Oskeladden, that's a very valid point. A student incapable of submitting an application on his/her own without an agent doesn't deserve a student visa. Yes, immigration agents should not be allowed to submit student applications.