Australian police to combat ‘curry bashing’

February 19th, 2009 - 6:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Feb 19 (IANS) In an effort to counter attacks on international students, mostly of Indian origin, police in this Australian city are asking the young expatriates to moderate their social behaviour and not to speak loudly in their native language.

The law-enforcing authorities in Melbourne have been perturbed by a rise in violent attacks, dubbed as “curry bashing”, on students from the Indian subcontinent.

According to an estimate, around 35,000 Indian students are studying in various institutes in this second largest city of Australia.

The Indian students would be “taught”, according to a front page article in The Age newspaper Thursday, to moderate their social behaviour and not to speak loudly in native Indian languages while in public.

Indian students would also be advised against making an obvious display of wealth and not to carry laptops and iPods in late night trains.

Melbourne, which is considered one of the safest destinations in the world, has seen the crime rate go up in western suburbs by as much as 27 percent last financial year. Indian students have been at the receiving end in a number of these violent robberies.

Now the Melbourne Police is making a special effort to counter what is believed to be racially-motivated attacks.

“They need to make sure they walk through a well-lit route, even if it might be longer, and they are not openly displaying signs of wealth with iPods and phones, and not talking loudly in their native language,” Inspector Scott Mahony of Melbourne Police has been quoted by The Age as saying Thursday.

Some organisations have already expressed their views about the current drive. The Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) is one such grouping.

“It’s not being told to other communities or other students, ‘Don’t speak loudly in your native tongue, don’t carry laptops’,” the FISA head Raman Vaid has told The Age reporter.

It is believed the Australian authorities are seriously worried about the negative message such attacks can convey to students who plan to come to Australia in the future.

“Melbourne is one of the most peaceful cities and such attacks are an aberration. I am sure police would be able to control such negative incidents and restore Indian students’ confidence pretty soon,” Indian education consultant Pankaj Sharma told IANS.

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