Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another racist attack on Indians in Melbourne; police accused of cover-up

Mukhtiar Singh has lived in Melbourne for 22 years and never experienced any violence; that is until last Saturday night. He, his son Inderpal and his nephews Gurdeep and Sukhdip Singh were playing pool at a bar in Epping in Melbourne's north. They had played there numerous times before without trouble, but this night was to be different. It started when another patron started abusing them.

"This drunk bloke came over, you know, he stirred us up, said something to my nephew. He was pointing 'come outside, come outside'."

According to Onkar Singh, brother-in-law of the 2 nephews:

"Our guys just ignore it and Gurdeep told him just to mind his own business. And as soon as the security guards see this happening they came to them and they took the other guy out of the joint. The security guard says you can keep on playing, don't worry about it. And after an hour they thought we'll leave, it's all safe now we can go and while they were going towards the car park they saw like 70 to 75 people in car park waiting for them. He says the people in the car park were shouting; 'You Indians, go back to your country'."

Mukhtiar again: "They said 'you Indians go back to your country', they used f words and everything, you know, even the ladies. The whole crowd came outside. 70, could be more than 70. Now all of them, they were coming from every side, you know, you look around, they're coming from this side, that side, the car park was just crowded, a lot of people there. Didn't have any weapons, beer bottles, whatever they had in their hands."

Sukhdip Singh (pictured top), 26, received the worst injuries - to his cheek, nose and jaw. He was in hospital for two days and still has a swollen face. According to Onkar Singh, Gurmeet suffered a broken jaw and Mukhtiar has a possibly broken shoulder. Inderpal suffered broken teeth but managed to escape and called the police.

Police who were called to the scene confirmed hearing the racial slurs still being uttered while they were there, but have stated that there were only 15 people in the group that attacked the Indians, of which four have been taken into custody. They claim there were not more than 25 people at the private function in the bar from which the attackers would seem to have come. The figure of 70 has been widely reported in India however.

The figure of 70 attackers does seem quite high; but I guess if a bunch of guys are beating you with bottles, your counting abilities aren't going to be at their optimum. There may have been many who stood around watching but not actively participating in the attack. It is quite possible that some had left the scene by the time the police arrived, or once they saw the police arriving. And there was a period of around half an hour between the initial taunting in the bar and the subsequent bashing, which is plenty of time for the attackers to summon their mates from elsewhere. It is now seemingly a common practice for brain-dead thugs to have a small army of brain-dead thugs on standby, ready to turn up and bash someone once the call is made. I'm not saying this is what happened, but it wouldn't surprise me one iota.

While the incident received considerable publicity in India, it only made the news in Australia today. Gautam Gupta of the Federation of Indian Students has questioned whether the police are attempting to cover it up. This coincides with Muhktair Singh's claim that the police's estimate of 15-20 attackers is also wrong.

15 or 70? In all likelihood the correct number is somewhere in the middle. The police deny any cover-up, and I'm inclined to believe them; there are numerous violent brawls ever weekend in Melbourne, and not all of them make the news. But I wouldn't be too surprised either if there was an attempt to keep it quiet; possibly to hide an inadequate response to the incident. Or alternatively, the police may have been reluctant to expose the incident for fears of fanning further flames, either from other thugs who see curry-bashing as a popular pastime to be emulated, or from Indians who feel increasingly persecuted and may wish to take matters into their own hands.


Let me say first up that I don't think Australians are particularly more racist than any other nationality. The vast majority of Australians would abhor what happened to the victims here. And hopefully a majority of Australians are welcoming and accepting of Indians and those of other ethnicities.

However, I there is a pretty big section of the population who have some really ignorant views on this stuff. Not to the point where they would actually bash anyone, but enough that they will spout stupid and xenophobic comments about Indians. This creates an environment which increases the chances of bashings occurring. Remember that in almost all the curry-bashing incidents, the perpetrators have been males aged between 14 and 25. I'd wager they're not especially smart or sensitive people either; I doubt any of them are studying medicine or the fine arts. So we are talking about a certain demographic that doesn't do much deep analysis of issues and is susceptible to influence from media soundbites, as well as whatever bigoted comments are spewed out by parents and peers.

Case in point: recently I was giving an anti-violence presentation to a group of 15-year-olds at a high school in what you might call a pretty rough area. As an example of the dangers that are out there, I mentioned some of the attacks on Indian and Chinese students. I heard these comments in response from a couple of students: "Well, they're asking for it because they carry laptops and iPods and all that stuff, 'cos they're all rich."
And: "It's the Indians' own fault, because they protested in the city and blocked all the traffic, so people hate them now."

Sounds like something you hear from a parent. I don't think either of those students would bash an Indian, but when someone believes those sentiments they expressed, or hears people expressing them, it certainly makes it seem more acceptable to bash an Indian.

Over at Yahoo7's Australian News Message Boards, I came across a thread entitled "Indians cry Oz doesn't care about them". Now, these message boards are disproportionally frequented by a lot of racist yobs, so I don't think the following comments represent the typical Australian point of view, yet I do think they are pretty common nonetheless. Here are what some of these fools had to say about the above story:

kym074: Or perhaps this guy is just singing his own tune and wanting to make the whole racism thing worse than it is. If Australian's are so racist, they should do what I would do in another country...... GO HOME!

(How silly that he complain about being bashed and called racist names, he should just go back to India, despite living here 22 years, right?)

thehills76: Here we go again, anything to make us look bad and they wonder why we don't give them much sympathy.

(Yeah you Indians, just take the abuse and beatings, you should be thankful for the privilege of receiving them.)

mindy.moo29: Typical, playing the race victim card... I wonder how much he got paid like the British tourist who got lost bush walking for selling HIS story to his countries own media? Quite allot I presume :)
Will prolly pay his next semesters student fees after he p1ssed what he had up a wall down the pub during stu-vac.
I agree, if it's so bad, why come here?
I'll put money on it that Sukhdip the student applies for and then is granted permanent residency for his trouble.
:)70 guys called to beat 4? pmsl....Um sure!!!
Anyone else who was at the club apart from the victims relatives saw the incident?
Sounds like your typical pub brawl to me, they happen here in Australia all the time among intoxicated pub and club frequenters.
The police claim they saw 15, not 70 individuals supposedly attacking the 4 in question, and only 4 were taken in for questioning then later released.
Had the injuries been serious, and or the police thought this was a premeditated racial attack, why were they released?
Sounds to me that a pack of Indians got a bit lippy with some people down the pub over a game of pool, had a scuffle in the car park and tried to make out it was more than what it was. A typical Aussey pub brawl. :)

(Amazing how someone can take a report and interpret it in such a way as to make the victims the villains. It may defy logic, but that's the magic of being a racist bitch.)

Its obvious they lied about the 70 people....what else did they lie about?
If I get bashed, chances are I will have deserved it. One things for sure...I won't be crying to international news agencies about it.

(Yes, they deserved it - how dare they play pool. And they have the nerve to complain to the media about it! What a bunch of wusses.)

thehills76: They said there were 70 people around then police smashed this by saying 15 just further proves that the race card is being displayed and who's lying.

(Yet the police confirmed that even after they arrived on the scene the mob was uttering racist slurs - but no, it must just be the Indians playing the race card again.)

aquaman69: Indians Only have themselves to Blame here ...One boss I had told all the sales staff on a very large Car yard they would """ Not""" !!be sacked if they told an Indian family to leave the Yard F.A.R.K. off the reason was simple you agree to a price and any work on the Car and sign a delivery date , Indians and Only Indians will arrive in Numbers swarm all over the Car then start to find other things wrong and want a further reduction in price , Not fixed just a further discount it happened mant times and in the End we where told we could tell them to F.A.R.K. Off!! Seagulls of the Human race !!

(See, so the Singh family is rightfully bashed for what some Indians in a car yard somewhere might have done. Seems fair.)

Those views may seem extreme but I hear variations of them all the time:
"What a bunch of whingers."
"India is far more racist than Australia so they have no right to complain."
"Indians are rude/weak/stingy/rich/smelly/devious/loud/bad at English and therefore they deserve what they get."
"They shouldn't have been riding the train/walking the street/out at night/in Australia anyway, what do they expect?"

Plenty of people have no qualms about spouting these idiocies. Should we be surprised then that immigrants are so devalued that attacking them seems acceptable?

Other posts related to this topic:

Are Australians really racist towards Indians?

Disgraceful attacks against Indians continue

Attacks on Indians - is it racism or opportunism?

More Indian students attacked, and temple vandalised

Kamahl weighs in on curry-bashing - and the media twists it

Curry-bashing ringleader jailed for murder

3 more Indian students bashed in a fortnight


  1. Indian men hate all women,they hate african's,they hate germans,they hate the english,they hate japanese,they hate women from iceland,they hate polar bears,they hate anyone who drinks at the Max's bar lounge in bellefourche South Dakota,they ,,,,,,,,

  2. Im Australian 29 in Melbourne - My wife is from Hyderabad, India (born and raised), I have friends who are Indian, viet,chinese, malay, german, swedish, columbian, greek, italian, african and more...

    Not fussed about race - if your open to dealings with anyone you have the opportunity to be what i call a "culture sponge" - you should see the cook ups/international BBQ's that go on at our places... foods incredible.... convos great... diverse music and so much to talk about.....

    I have no time for simple minded redneck attitude..

    If you truly want to say your Australian - you'd embrace all that the country has to offer....

    Become a culture sponge! and don't bread this simple minded hatred into your kids..... kill racism with your generation....