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Fearing backlash, Indian outfits against Sydney protest

Fearing backlash, Indian outfits against Sydney protest

Author: Ashok Kumar & Agencies
Publication: The Times of India
Date: June 7, 2009

Introduction: Community Divided On Anti-Racial Stir

In what could become another flashpoint in the racially charged environment in Australia, Indian students in Sydney plan to hold a rally on Sunday to protest against continuing attacks on them. However, this time, the protest faces resistance from within-some community leaders and student activists have called for restraint, warning against provoking a possible backlash.

In spite of efforts by various community organizations, some students unions belonging to universities in Sydney, announced on Saturday that they would go ahead with the rally in front of Sydney Town Hall. Stressing that the proposed march might cause a law and order problem and may lead to immigration issues, United Indian Associations president Aruna Chandrala said on Saturday that the association has asked these students to inform the police about their protest plan.

Several SMSes asking Indian students to attend the rally have gone out in the past few days. "Nobody knows who the organisers are, even the police don't know,'' said Yadu Singh, who is attached to the Indian Consulate in Sydney and heads a committee concerned with the welfare of Indian students in Australia. New South Wales premier Nathan Rees, while listing out various steps to protect international students, said he was not aware of any plan by Indian students to hold a protest march.

Calling the proposed rally as an "entirely futile idea'', Singh said he feared it might cause inconvenience to people and backfire on the Indian community.

Singh attended a meeting called by the NSW premier on the safety of Indian students. "The security of the students has been taken up at the highest level,'' Singh said. "We will work closely with the premier and ministers as we all want to uphold the reputation and lifestyle we enjoy here,'' Singh said.

Aus taking safety steps, says envoy:

Australian high commissioner to India John McCarthy has said his government was taking concrete measures to improve safety of Indian students in the backdrop of the attacks. He added that the Australian police were pursuing those responsible for the attacks while charges have also been laid.

Govt to soon formulate policy on racial discrimination abroad: Kaur

The Centre would soon formulate a policy to deal with racial discrimination against Indians abroad, minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur said in Patiala on Saturday. Kaur expressed concern at the plight of students from India who have been facing racial attacks in Australia for about a month now. "We have taken up the matter at various levels with the Australian government. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has spoken to his Australian counterpart. We want that the dignity of Indians is maintained in other countries," she said.

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