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On Recent Attacks on Indian Students in Australia

Going by media reports, there seems to have been a series of attacks on Indian students in Australia in recent times. In all probability, this is something that has been going on for a while, but hasn’t received high-profile coverage till now.

Racism, of course, is nothing new. Indians being targets of racism isn’t new either (and they aren’t the only targets, even in the current news cycle). So, yes, there is an element of media hysteria to it. Not that such hysteria itself is new. When news becomes a commodity that has to be sold, it is quite natural for marketing departments to take precedence over jounalism.

However, just because it isn’t new or because media is hyping something up, it doesn’t mean that such incidents have to be ignored. On the contrary, every such incident needs to be taken up with the authorities, and the Government of India must pressurize the Government of Australia to ensure that investigations are seriously pursued. Amitabh Bachchan’s private protest, of course, is entirely his own business.

Such attacks, if allowed to continue without consequences, have the potential for causing long-term damage to the safety and security of Indian community abroad. It not only damages the business interests of Australia, but also has an adverse impact on Indians who are either currently studying/working in Australia, or planning to do so in future.

The fact that Indian students are perhaps less safe in India itself (as Gaurav Sabnis points out) has no bearing whatsoever on such cases. Government of India doesn’t have to “first ensure that students don’t get abused or murdered at home” before taking up these issues with foreign governments. It should do both, but they are different issues and should not be mixed.

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