Indian students in Australia slam BJP protests

June 2nd, 2009 - 4:58 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

Kevin Rudd Indian students in Australia have reacted angrily to protests organized yesterday by the youth wing of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) in which effigies of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd were burnt.

The protests outside the Australian High Commission in New Delhi were organized to protest a recent string of attacks on Indian students in Australia – perceived by some to be racially motivated – and the apparent lack of action by police to curb them.

The protests were held at the same time as the two major political parties in Australia were condemning the attacks in Parliament and Mr. Rudd was promising to bring those responsible for the violence to justice.

News of the New Delhi protests has angered many Indian students living in Australia who quickly posted comments on newspaper websites condemning the Indian political party’s actions.

“The reason they are doing this is not because they are concerned but because they recently lost elections miserably in India in most of the states,” one Indian student said.

Another posted: “These bunch of extremist idiots are making it political. I never support them. Just ignore their acts. K Rudd showed fantastic gesture by calling Indian PM. Australians are not racist in general. They are great fun loving and friendly people. However, you may find some unintellectual (sic) thugs who may get involved in violence and racism. Violence has nothing to do with race.”

Sumera from Melbourne said; “Please don’t go by the effigy burning. When a bunch of ineffectual, unemployed, easily influenced, attention-seeking mob, take the trouble to build paper dollies, and burn them while shouting, are NOT to be taken seriously. Even in India [the] majority of the population laughs at this effigy burning. I’ve been living in Australia for the last couple of years and while I have faced the occasional discrimination, my overall experience has been a very, very positive one. I find Aussies to be friendly and ready to have a chat.”

Another Indian student who was at the protest in Melbourne pointed out, “the protest was against police and the government and not against common Aussies. Spending the night was idiotic and [the] force used (by the Victorian police) in the morning was reasonable. Burning K. Rudd’s effigy is shameful, BJP has always supported [the] caste system and this is the main reason of their defeat.

At the same time as the BJP’s hard-line Hindu political ally, the Shiv Sena, were burning an effigy of Mr. Rudd outside a visa office in Mumbai, the Australian Prime Minister was telling Parliament he had told “Prime Minister Singh that the more than 90,000 Indian students in Australia are welcome guests in our country.”

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