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indian students targetted in australia


Conversations over the past few weeks while I was on my trip, prepared me for this news this morning.

Thousands of Indian students have held a noisy protest in central Melbourne, venting their frustration over recent violent attacks on Indian students.

Student Sravan Kumar Theerthala, 25, was stabbed with a screwdriver last weekend and remains in the hospital.

The peaceful protest was organised by the Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) and began at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Parkville, where the injured Indian student is battling for his life.

News sources say that there have been 18-months of racially motivated attacks against students and young people of Indian origin. 

J’s cousin is there in nursing school right now, as well as a few other families that mentioned that their loved ones are working or studying in the Down Under as well.  When I last chatted with J’s cousin, he mentioned that they don’t go out much, even though they live near the beach and have a ton of free time.  I didn’t think much of it, but other stories I heard while in India, made me start to wonder about how much is left unsaid.  R, who I met in Haripad, told me about horrific experiences he and his colleagues had in Poland over the last year, perpetrated by residents of that country, who saw their Indian guests as a threat to their land.

A common theme that emerged from R’s, and from many others, is that they don’t tell their families at home about what is going on, lest they worry.  A sadder story is that after the families do find out, the pressure they face in society to maintain the image that everything is okay.  “If we tell someone that our loved one went to US/UK/Australia, etc. and that things are not okay, they will blame us for being greedy and say that we deserved it.”  “No one will believe what we are saying– yes, those kind of things happen in the Gulf countries, but not in the US/UK/Aus…”

My prayers and thoughts go out to the students in Melbourne, as well as to all the people struggling against violence and racism around the world.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mallory permalink
    2009-06-04 11:50 PM

    Yea, one of my close friends was in Poland for two years and she said the brownies had a bad rep everywhere. The bars had specified areas for the ‘colored’ ones. Everyone there looked down on them and were very racist.

    I didn’t know it was like that in UK and AU too.

    • 2009-06-05 6:32 AM

      I don’t know so much about UK, but AU and the Poland stories were crazy. R, who came back about a month ago, told us stories of how they’d take out money to pay bus fare and people would grab their hands and not allow them to take their money out. They would get assaulted if they left, so they stayed in their rooms. They weren’t even safe go out to buy food, so their company brought in a cook to do the purchasing and cooking for them. And their company promoted this isolation by telling them that they would be safer to stay in the room, and no one would be responsible for them if they left.

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