Following racist attacks on Indians in Australia, many community initiatives are shaping up to encourage racial harmony.
One such effort is by a community group in Melbourne called Uniting Church, which has started monthly meetings between Indian students and the mainstream Australian community. The meetings attempt to encourage Indian students in Melbourne to talk about their hardships in Australia.
“We are a multi cultural society and initiatives like hosting dinners will help build cordial relations,” said the visiting educator of Uniting Church in Australia, Robert Bos, while talking to India’s Times of India newspaper.
Indian students are welcoming such initiatives, especially after failed attempts by the respective governments to address the safety concerns of Indians living in Australia.
The newspaper also quoted Bos saying that another local, Mia Northrop, has launched a ‘Vindaloo Against Violence’ campaign to curb hostility against Indians. Mia invites willing Australians to dinner at Indian restaurants, hosted specifically to encourage racial harmony.
Bos attended one of these dinners and observed that these events provide an opportunity to both Indians and Australians to understand each other and also enjoy Indian food, the newspaper reported.
He said not only Indians, but all the Asian students who come to Australia to study, make an important contribution to the country’s economy.
While the alleged racially-motivated attacks received heavy media coverage in India, some Indians living in Australia believe that the media reports were biased, and blew the issue out of proportion.
“Indian’s being assaulted in Australia was an issue which is highly blown up by the tabloid section of Indian Media,” Raj from Sydney commented on the Times of India story. “I, in fact, rarely, come by any article or news item, from Indian media which is objective or just gives you the facts, without trying to inflame the situation.
Raj goes on to share his personal experience in the comment. “I never felt threatened being here during this time. Most of them who were assaulted, were travelling in the poorer section of the city, where the crime rate is high, and when you are especially a new visitor to the country, that is something which you would resist from doing.
Raj also had a particular observation about the perpetrators of the attacks on Indians. “Those who were caught and found guilty of assaulting Indians, were mainly non-caucasians (non-whites).”