Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More Indians assaulted in Melbourne and Brisbane

Another weekend brings another round of violent incidents.

Firstly, 9 young men were arrested yesterday after two Indian men were attacked in Melbourne's CBD on Monday night. 5 of them, aged 19 and 20, were charged with affray, assault and intentionally causing injury. The remaining 4 may yet face charges.

The Indians described being racially abused by the group at 10:20pm on the corner of Latrobe and Swanston Streets, then being pushed to the ground and punched and kicked. One of the victims had microsurgery on an abrasion suspected of being from a bladed weapon.

The charged men have been described by police as Asian and Caucasian, from the suburbs of Carlton, Abbotsford, Warrandyte and Northcote and Donvale. The were bailed to appear in court on April 5th.

Meanwhile in Brisbane on Thursday night, a 25-year-old Indian man was assaulted and robbed while using a phone box in Macgregor. Two youths aged 15 and 20 are facing court in relation to the attack.

On the same night, taxi driver and student Sandeep Goyal (pictured), aged 20, was attacked by brothers Brett Anthony Gill, 28, and Joshua Philip Colin Gill, 25, apparently following an argument over the $6 fare. The two men have been charged with assault occasioning bodily harm while armed, with wilful damage and attempted stealing in company.

Acting police commissioner Kathy Rynders says there is no suggestion race was a factor in either incident. Which may well be true, but some would suggest that such a response is all too predictable from the police. But representatives of Brisbane's Indian community fear that they may be copycat incidents inspired by the violence in Sydney and Melbourne.

That raises an interesting question, which certainly occurred to me when I heard about the bashing in Melbourne. Has publicity about anti-Indian violence made it into some kind of trend? I'm not saying it has (not knowing all the facts in any of the incidents), but you have to wonder. Consider also the way that some elements in the media seem keen to portray Indians (here and abroad) as paranoid crybabies. Add to that the early police statements which gained wide currency about Indians being easy targets because they were passive and carried around iPods and laptops. It is possible that there is a second wave of these attacks which have been strongly influenced by media coverage. Which is a real worry.

I'm not sure if it's giving the police too much credit, but this might be the reason they seem to want to play down any racial element in the attacks. It is certainly worth considering if the media has to change its approach to covering these crimes. Although articles like Alan Howe's (which I wrote about here) which seek to paint Indians as hypocritical whingers, would be the first thing to change.

For more information about attacks on Indians in Australia, try in my archives here.


  1. Media shape public opinion. One would think reporting these incidents would make people worry about what's really going on. But it looks like it simply give ideas to some violent jerks to attack people (mostly Indians, I guess), because "that's a trendy thing to do".

  2. The idea that it could be copycat violence - I mean, I don't want to cheapen any element of this by making comparisons, but the idea of copycat violence kind of makes it even worse, you know? It's not just racial violence, it's racial violence inspired by racial violence.

  3. Yep. Scary. It may not be true, but I wouldn't be surprised. I think an element of street and nightclub violence is already driven to some extent by a copycat element, in the sense that frequent violence makes it more permissible to be violent oneself.

    Unfortunately, the way this has all played out in the media and discourse amongst individuals in the community, the image of Indians in Australia has probably been damaged, rather than incurring sympathy. Which is really terrible.

  4. It's no secret that media coverage of a particular behavior inspire people, who may harbor certain animosity, to act on this animosity.

    Case in point: incidents of school violence increased after Columbine '99.

    Is it a trend? I am not certain if "trend" is the right word, but it is race-based violence.

  5. Afrikaner Dolt, after generally keeping quiet about the Indian attacks for fear of attracting attention to his culpability, has seen great opportunity to deflect blame at the sight of a recent attack having been carried out by Asians.

    All of a sudden he's shouting from the rooftop how it's "not us Australians" who are doing the attacks but rather (when not Asians) Africans. But one would have thought the Indians would have mentioned by now if they were being attacked by Africans, as a salient fact, and wouldn't be complaining about "Australian" racism.

    Afrikaner Dolt's dug himself into a hole and now he's clutching at any straws trying to get out.

  6. @ Peter: I know you despise Andrew Bolt, but I'll try to be as fair to him as possible. There is an element of fact to what he has said in his latest editorial, but as usual he is selectively using facts and spinning them in a nefarious direction.

    A number of the attacks on Indians have been by Africans, in particular a bunch of early incidents in the Western suburbs involving taxi drivers. This was probably the work of one particular gang. So he is correct in that aspect.

    What he ignores however, is the many incidents in which white Australians were the perpetrators. These are conveniently ignored; but when the perps are Asian or African, Bolt is all over it, and uses it as proof of his theories about ethnics.

    As soon as I saw that some or all of the perps in the latest CDB attack were Asian, my first reaction was "Here we go, the right-wing media is gonna love this."

  7. Despise the guy?! :O LOVE the guy! lol