Sunday, July 05, 2009

Who attacked the Indian student? ... finally the "shock" answer

In May an Indian student, Sourabh Sharma, was bashed by a gang on a Melbourne train. The attack sparked a massive wave of publicity in both Australia and India, with claims that Indian students were victims of racism.

At the time, I pointed out that CCTV cameras had caught the gang in action and that the attackers who appeared on camera didn't appear to be Anglo. I suggested that one of the attackers even looked South Asian.

Still, there was an assumption in some quarters that white Australians were targeting and bashing Indians. The Times of India went so far as to issue the following statement:

What's worrisome is the fact that there appears to be a racist undertone to these incidents. They are apparently part of a new fad ...

In any country there are bound to be extreme elements. It's worrisome that the tribe of extreme nationalists who champion an exclusivist, white Aussie identity seems to be increasing in Australia ...

Clearly, Australia cannot afford to be seen as a hostile country if it wants to continue attracting talent, and money, from outside its shores ... such ugly incidents are simply unacceptable, mate.

You can see what The Times of India is really focused on. The Times wants an open borders Australia and therefore labels anyone who defends traditional Australia as an "extreme nationalist" - as the type of person who would bash a foreigner on a train.

It seems the height of arrogance for an overseas newspaper to dictate what another country's national identity may or may not be. It seems hypocritical too for an Indian to demand that Australia have open borders, given that India itself prefers closed borders and a traditional identity.

But the story doesn't end there. The assumption that white Australians were bashing Indian students caught on in India and led to some angry outbursts in the Indian media. Here are three such angry comments left at online Indian media outlets:

An eye for an eye is it? Let's beat the Aussies up and deport them. This is how justice should be given in the 21st century.

These are a breed of people who were deported from Europe for criminal activities. They have criminal genes. It is also clearly visible in cricket. All Australians good or bad living in India must be thrashed and deported.

Repulsive, backward, Aussie filth, the laughing stock of the Western world.

There were some Indians who tried to defend Australians, though even they assumed that white Australians were responsible for the bashings. One writer pointed out that the number of Indians arriving in Australia each year was equivalent (in terms of population size) to 5.5 million foreign arrivals in India each year - something that Indians themselves would not react well to.

But this week came the following news in the Melbourne Herald Sun (30/06/09):

Shock revelation in attack that incited racial tension

Indian on bash charge

A man accused of a bashing that sparked racial tensions between Australia and India was of Indian descent.

The youth, among four boys charged with assaulting and robbing Indian student Sourabh Sharma on May 9, has been released on bail.

Victoria Police have confirmed the alleged attacker was of Indian descent ...

Mr Sharma siad he did not know any of the men were Indian. "I don't know who they were," he said. "It's definitely a shock."

The attack on Mr Sharma ... evoked widespread condemnation of Australians after the footage was beamed across India.

Federation of Indian Students of Australia president Amit Menghani said he was unaware any of the attackers were of Indian descent. "If it was an Indian, I would be disappointed," he said.

So I was correct in suggesting that one of the attackers was of South Asian descent.

One thing that's true is that there have been a lot of attacks on Indian students in Australia; 1447 last financial year according to the police. So the anger of Indian students at the unsafe conditions they face here is understandable.

But the gangs targeting and attacking Indian students aren't Anglo and traditional, but multicultural.

The diversity involved in the attacks on Indian students has been slowly coming through in the media. For instance, here's a report from the Melbourne Herald Sun:

Gangs assault cabbies. Melbourne's Indian and Pakistani taxi drivers are being bashed and robbed by African youth gangs.

This is the wikipedia account of protests in Sydney by Indian students:

On 8 June, 300 Indian students staged a protest in Harris Park late into the evening in response to an alleged assault, claiming they were considered "soft targets".

Some Indian protestors were reported to be carrying hockey sticks and baseball bats. According to police, the protest was sparked by an attack on Indians earlier in the evening allegedly by Lebanese men.

In retaliation the protesters attacked three uninvolved Lebanese men, who sustained minor injuries. This was believed to be the first violent reaction by Indian students against attacks on them. A police dog squad was called in to control the crowd.

A Bangladeshi man was attacked in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine (Beyond India Monthly, 08/02/09):

When I turned on Anderson Road I saw four black men standing over there. They were blocking my way. I requested them to make way and they started abusing me and my wife Nasir. I kept low, I preferred to step on the road and go around them. As I walked a bit further one of them came running behind us and hit me with the stick. Then they started hitting my wife ... I want action against those African guys. I want them arrested and punished so that they don't touch my lady again.

Simon Overland, the Chief Commissioner of Police in Victoria, has responded to the attacks by sending an additional 75 police officers into the suburbs of Sunshine and St Albans. These are possibly the most diverse, multicultural suburbs of Melbourne. In St Albans, for example, 27.9% of households speak only English at home, compared to 78.5% for Australia in general (and 91% for my own suburb not that far to the east of St Albans).

So the attacks on Indian students are taking place in the suburbs least populated by young Anglo men. It's possible that many Melbournians are already aware of this, as there's been uncommon resistance amongst Anglo-Australians to accepting the blame.

It's been one of the few positives to come out of the whole affair: a sceptical attitude amongst Anglo-Australians that they are, by default, the guilty oppressor group.


  1. "I want them arrested and punished so that they don't touch my lady again"

    I'm really disturbed at the levels of sexism and mysoginy in that statement.

  2. Henry, seriously? Could you explain your comment a bit further?

  3. I think Henry just wanted to use the word mysoginy.

  4. Mark Richardson says:

    So the attacks on Indian students are taking place in the suburbs least populated by young Anglo men. It's possible that many Melbournians are already aware of this, as there's been uncommon resistance amongst Anglo-Australians to accepting the blame.

    Left-liberalism has now degenerated into uncontrollable farce - Tom Wolfe territory. Barry Humphries where are you when we need you!

    In recent times there was the pantomime of the Sorry Day, another useless exercise in feel-good symbolic politics. Meanwhile the real heavy lifting to rectify Aboriginal dysfunction (significantly brought on by Left-liberalism) was done by the Intervention. A Right-"corporalist" form of authoritarianism if ever there was one. Which is already bearing fruit.

    Then we had the relaxation of Howard's border protection regime. Leading to resurgence of people smuggling and, of course, people drowning. Self-inflicted by all accounts, panning out more or less according to Howard's infamous suggestion.

    Now we have a series of attacks against NESB's allegedly by white racists. Which turn out to have been instigated by...multicultural gangs in our most diverse suburbs.

    Left-liberals are not only wrong, their world-view is the exact opposite of the truth. Now these delusionists want a Bill of Rights to cement their drivel into the effective constitution.

    I suggest that ordinary "Anglo-Australians", rather than "accepting the blame" have quietly decided that Left-liberals have had their "Peter Principle" moment. ie been promoted to a level exposing their incompetence. Time to put them out to pasture.

  5. Chaps, I was kidding.

    The joke I was trying to make, perhaps unsuccessfully, is that the only thing that one can legitimately criticise today is a transgression of liberal orthodoxy.

  6. ... i.e. references to "lady" I remember being denounched as sexist by campus lesboids and sodomites.

  7. Jack, excellent comment, thanks.

    Henry, don't worry, I thought initially your comment was meant to be read humourously but just wasn't sure.

    Yes, I remember too when the term "lady" was denounced by campus feminists as offensive.

  8. Mark,

    Indian media is the DUMBEST institution of the planet. Times of India is a tabloid that thrives on creating unnecessary controversies.

  9. "While the federal government and industry work to repair the damage caused by a recent spate of attacks on Indian students in Australia, education agents say the violence has shone a light on a $14 billion industry riven with corruption...

    Ms Singh says the root cause of student tension is not the attacks but a deep disconnect between the life they were told would be theirs and the debt, loneliness and disenchantment they find is the reality."

  10. Hunting for Eddie’s racists

    "WHY are so many clever people so eager to blame racism for the violence on our streets? ...

    Example? In the latest Sunday Herald Sun, TV star Eddie McGuire wrote of having just hosted the finale to Melbourne’s “Harmony Day” walk.

    The Premier, Opposition Leader, Lord Mayor and police chief had been there, too, making “impassioned and heartfelt speeches about how racial intolerance would not be stood for”...

    But these are the men charged with the murder of Aguiar: Pacific Islanders Sioeli Seau, Fostar Akoteu and Jacob Palutele. And here are those charged over the bashing of Adams: Konstantinos Kontoklotsis, Mark Bogtstra and Nathan Karazisis.

    Hmm. Just how can McGuire use these crimes - both involving attacks on “whites” - as evidence of the Aussie racism which must be stamped out to “change the violence on our streets”?

    Ditto with the attacks on the Indian students that other harmony day speakers denounced. In fact, one of the four youths charged with the most publicised attack - the bashing of Sourabh Sharma on a train in May - was himself of Indian descent.

    We also know that Indian students and cab drivers who have been bashed say that many of their attackers have been Africans, Maori or Islanders.

    Do you sense some people are too keen to see a bogeyman that doesn’t exist? And that in doing so, they ignore the ones that most certainly do?"

  11. Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle is blaming bogans for the CBD crime wave. Yet whites are usually the victims of serious assaults:

    "Police figures published in The Age newspaper today show almost half of the assaults in the central business district, Docklands and Southbank are by offenders from Melbourne's west and northwestern suburbs...

    Mr Doyle said more needed to be done to stop "bogan" troublemakers in their home suburbs before they entered the city."

  12. I confronted the guy who did this on fb.