Indians under attack in Melbourne

Strange that the police say nothing about the attackers? Not really. Past reports indicate that the attackers are mainly Africans. And we mustn't under any circumstances let anybody know how dangerous Africans can be, must we?

Indian students will be taught not to speak loudly in their native tongue or display signs of wealth such as iPods when travelling on trains at night, as part of a strategy to crack down on violent robberies. Robberies in Melbourne's western suburbs jumped by 27 per cent last financial year. Police estimated almost a third of victims were of Indian appearance. A special police group has been formed to combat the robberies amid fears that some are racially motivated and that Indian international students are soft targets because they carry iPods and laptops on trains late at night.

The Federation of Indian Students of Australia says Melbourne, which has about 33,000 Indian international students, may no longer be seen as a safe destination.

Inspector Scott Mahony, of Brimbank police, said it was crucial to stop Indian students becoming victims and address their mistrust of police. "They need to make sure they walk through a well-lit route, even if it might be longer, and they are not openly displaying signs of wealth with iPods and phones, and not talking loudly in their native language," Inspector Mahony said. " We do believe there are some where the victim is targeted because of Indian appearance."

Dayajot Singh, who helped organise a protest last year over attacks on Indians, said Indian students should be taught crime prevention as part of their university induction course. "They should be taught that if you go on public transport in this country, people don't talk loudly, they talk in a low voice. If you talk loudly it could be taken as violent behaviour. It's different cultural behaviour - speaking loudly to each other is not taken offence to in India." He said an important message was not to carry valuables on trains at night.

Federation of Indian Students of Australia president Raman Vaid said most students carried valuables. "It's not being told to other communities or other students, 'Don't speak loudly in your native tongue, don't carry laptops'," he said. Mr Vaid said racist attacks gave Indian students a bad impression and could encourage them to study in other states or countries.

The Police Indian Western Reference Group was formed after 100 Indian men marched on Sunshine police station in December to protest against what they said was a poor response to the attacks. Mr Singh said police had since met representatives of the Indian community and police behaviour had improved.

Police were frustrated that the crime prevention message did not appear to be getting through. "We need to re-examine what we are doing to find out why it's not working," Inspector Mahony said.

Ricky Ahluwalia told The Age he was knocked unconscious and robbed last year while walking to his Albion home from the station at night. "There is a lot of racism. My friends, they have always had the same problems. It only happens with Indians, no Asians, no other people." Other attacks on Indians include the stabbing of taxi driver Jalvinder Singh last year and the bashing of former Australian Medical Association president Mukesh Haikerwal.

Victoria University academic Dr Zhongjun Cao was bashed to death in Footscray last year. He was not Indian, but the court heard two gang members suggested they go out "curry bashing". Four members later bashed and robbed a second man, Binesh Mosaheb, a Mauritian, believing he was Indian.

Last month, communications and peer support teams, made up of police and Indian community representatives, were set up. Inspector Mahony said the peer support team would provide support to Indian victims of crime and explain cultural differences. "Some people simply had no concept of the meaning of bail and how we can arrest an offender on a robbery charge and they can be back on the street the next day," he said. "The perception was that offenders get away with crime."

Indian students had raised concerns police had not responded immediately to victims' calls or notified them when arrests were made. "There is a perception we don't care, and we have to do a lot of work around changing that perception," he said. Robberies in the western suburbs, including Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melton and Wyndham, jumped from 417 in 2006-07 to 530 in 2007-2008.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

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