Punjabi by nature: students lay out red carpet for foreigners

June 3rd, 2009 - 7:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, June 3 (IANS) Practising racial tolerance and treating foreign students to some good old Punjabi hospitality - that’s how the students of Panjab University (PU) are setting an example amid reports of alleged racist attacks on Indians in Australia.
Nearly a dozen students from countries like Afghanistan, Yemen, Canada, Iran and Nepal participated in the lunch Tuesday that was organised by Students’ Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), a students’ political party.

Students of the campus, under the leadership of SOPU, Wednesday also appealed to the dean (foreign students) of the varsity to submit a memorandum with the Australian High Commission requesting them to take action against the culprits in Australia and to safeguard the rights of Indian students studying there.

Shelly Walia, dean (foreign students), PU told IANS Wednesday: “We respect and support the gesture of our students. We strongly condemn the attacks on Indian students in Australia. Such incidents are quite unfortunate and should not happen anywhere in the world.”

“We would certainly do the needful in this regard in the next few days. We express our deep solidarity with the Indian students studying in Australia and with their parents in India,” said Walia.

Simin Anbarshahi, president of the foreign students’ association of PU told IANS: “We want peace to prevail all over the world and especially in educational institutions. Indian students are always very kind and helpful and they should also be treated equally if they go to any other country.”

Anbarshahi, who is from Iran and is pursuing her doctorate in English here, said: “The environment here is very congenial. There are around 200 foreign students studying in PU and its affiliated colleges and we have not come across any such racial attack here.”

Foreign students were greeted by garlands and offered sweets. They also participated in the peaceful protest march along with other students on the campus, followed by a lunch.

Brinder Singh Dhillon, president of SOPU party, said Wednesday: “This was our way to retaliate to the attacks on Indian students. We do not want to harm anyone but we want to win the hearts of foreign students studying here so that they take away good memories and healthy message from here.”

“In future, we would continue to felicitate the foreign students in the same way,” he added.

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