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"Don't come to this country. I was lucky to have escaped''|
16 Jun 2009
Manash Pratim Gohain, TNN
NEW DELHI: Twenty-year-old Sunny Bajaj has made up his mind. He will leave Australia for good. The Shalimar Bagh boy, who studied at Sachdeva
Public School in west Delhi and is pursuing accounting at Deakins University for the past one-and-a-half years now, has been left badly shaken by the attack on him at Melbourne on Friday night when he was racially abused and bashed up, leaving him with bruises and a fractured finger.
He was so traumatised by the incident that he skipped his exams on Monday. Speaking to TOI from Melbourne, he said: ``If Indian students really think they can cope with such abuses, they should come here. But my suggestion is don't come to this country. I was lucky to have escaped - otherwise I would have been in coma now.''
itimes: Share your experience in Australia
Bajaj is the latest victim of the racial attacks that have been unleashed in Australia in the past two months and seem to be continuing unabated.
It was on Friday night, around 8.15 pm local time, that he was assaulted by two men in Boronia, Melbourne.
``I was returning to my car after shopping when two men accosted me and asked for money. When I said I didn't have any, they began abusing me and then attacked me without any provocation. One of them was white and the other seemed to be of African origin.''
Bajaj said the men clearly knew he was an Indian because ``they abused me saying ``f****** Indian c***. They slammed the car door on my hand, fracturing my finger, hit me on my head and punched me in the stomach and face.'' He said he had reported the matter to the police and given them a description of the two men.
Bajaj was preparing for his exams before going back to India for his vacations. He says racial abuse is very common in Australia and students are used to it. ``Things are coming out into the open only now. I personally know of so many cases of racial abuse, which may not have resulted in physical assault like it has been happening of late. All kind of dirty things are said to us. Even after the protests, things have not changed at all,'' he said.
Asked whether he would like to continue staying in Australia, Bajaj said: ``I can't do much right now as I have my exams. In fact, I missed one today. But the first thing I really want to do now is to get back to India as soon as possible. My parents have been worried ever since these things started coming out into the open and now they don't want me to be here any longer. They want me to return or to go to some place like Singapore.''
Bajaj said he was yet to get over his trauma. ``I am completely out of my wits at present thinking that it could have been much worse. I was plain lucky with a few bruises, a broken finger and these injuries. I was saved because of an approaching car; otherwise, I would have been in hospital,'' he recalled with a shudder.
The Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) is alleging that no help has come their way, accusing the Indian consulate of not taking the issue seriously and playing politics with the life of students.
Media coordinator of FISA Gautam Gupta told TOI: ``Indian students have been spending millions and this is what they get in return. We have been in touch with the consulate but they are simply not interested in mediation. Why is there no visit by any ministry of external affairs team to see how the consulate is working?'' He alleged that the Indian government wasn't exerting any pressure.
Bajaj, however, feels that the Australian government is doing its bit to bring the situation under control and so are the cops. ``They can't assign a policeman to each student. But believe me, things are bad on the ground and it is not safe at all. First the attacks were happening late at night and in desolate locations, but now the incidents are taking place in the evening hours.''
``Australia is a beautiful country, but I am really scared and want to go home,'' he says.