In yet another racial attack on Indian students in Australia,a 22-year-old Sikh youth was assaulted by a group of six teenagers,who tried to remove his turban and cut the hair. Resham Singh,a student of hospitality course who came from Punjab six months ago,became the 20th victim within a month when he was attacked yesterday at Dandenong Station here. Singh,who could not speak English properly,explained in Punjabi that “They first abused me and left and then again came back with more people and also got a pair of scissors along with them. They tried to remove my turban and cut my hair.” “My friends tried to save me,” he said,adding “education agent back in India never gave me any information of how hard life will be here.” The attackers were later arrested by the police,Victoria police confirmed the arrest of the two persons but withheld the identity of the victim. “The youths from Dandenong aged 13 and 15 years were charged with intentionally causing serious injury,recklessly causing serious injury and assault in company,” a police spokesperson said.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has declared “zero tolerance” against attacks on students including Indians. Victorian police has also announced an initiative to mount stronger patrolling around train stations to curb any such crime. “I came to know from my college friends about the job market and other information like safety and security issues when I reached here,” Singh commented.
He said though the episode has shaken him he will continue his course and eventually get permanent residency. Singh pointed out that he took a job of trolley pushing through his friend as he was not getting any job due to his appearance. “No one was ready to hire me as I have beard and turban,” he claimed. Interestingly,most of the students who have been attacked are either a student of cookery,hospitality or community services courses studying in cut price private college.
These students who live far from family networks of home try to meet costs of expensive living as compared to Indian standards by working late nights and doing odd jobs like cleaning,sweeping,driving cabs or at petrol stations.