Thursday, July 29, 2010

Attack on Indian man leads to Victoria's first race-hate charges

The state of Victoria has had in place racial vilification laws in place for almost a decade now, but only now will we see them in action. Three men have faced court in Frankston after allegedly physically assaulting and verbally abusing an Indian student.

22-year-old Graphics student Rajan Kumar Katkam was travelling on a bus from Frankston to Rye on February 6th this year when he was subjected to a 45 minute ordeal of punching, kicking and racial taunts by the young men.

He said that no one on the bus did anything about it, except for one old lady who tried to intervene, but was then herself threatened by the men.

Interestingly, the article at the Herald-Sun about this incident has a considerable number of comments that seem to blame the Indian student for the crime of being brown and riding a bus. They display hostility to the concept of a racial vilification law, which also spills over into hostility towards Indians and non-white people in general. Observe a selection:

Mark of Knox Posted at 10:11 AM July 28, 2010
OK,so you name the nationality of the Indians,lets be fair and name the nationality of the accused.Quiet often these offences are done by other ethnic groups as i have witnessed in this city on numerous occasions
Comment 2 of 52

Sid of Geelong Posted at 10:12 AM July 28, 2010
What about all the racial taunts issued by Indians against Australians in our own country. What goes around comes around.
Comment 3 of 52

JIMMY PO of South Melbourne Posted at 10:28 AM July 28, 2010
Comment 8 of 52

brian wood of sunbury Posted at 10:47 AM July 28, 2010
Comment 12 of 52

Nathan of Melb Posted at 12:06 PM July 28, 2010
Why are we bending over backwards and creating new laws for immigrants . You can't even read shop signs in some areas now as they are all in other languages. Australia takes more care of immigrants and listens more to them than people who have lived here all their lives. White Australians will soon be the most disadvantaged in our society.
Comment 25 of 52

NJS of Melb Posted at 12:11 PM July 28, 2010
I bet if the victim was white this wouldn't be going to court.
Comment 26 of 52

James Stuart of Melbourne Posted at 12:52 PM July 28, 2010
Why is expressing an opinion that you want your country to remain white a crime? Sure they allegedly assaulted him, and should be brought to account, however, the scary thing is they are ALSO being dragged into court for expressing a political, racial and deeply held opinion. Now THATS the scary thing.. Victoria..Welcome to the Gulag state. Where voicing a dissenting opinion is now a CRIMINAL offence!! Imaging YOU being arrested for being a Liberal voter when a Labour government was in power. Or vice versa. Holding an opinion NO MATTER HOW REPREHENSIBLE is NOT and must NEVER be a crime!!! Lets hope the courts throw those charges out as being unconstitutional and a breach of International Human rights laws. On the assault charges, lets hope they receive a fair and impartial trial and are NOT held to account simply because of their political beliefs!!!
Comment 33 of 52

And so on. "Mark of Knox" wants to know the ethnicity of the attackers and seems to think white Aussies couldn't have done this; although given the location of the attack, its unlikely to be anyone else other than a white Aussie. (Edit: it has been later revealed the three attackers are all in their mid-20s and named Jason Ritchie, Adam Baxter and David Potter.) "Brian Wood of Sunbury" seems to think the real victims of vilification are the upstanding young men who attacked Rajan Kumar Katkam and are now having their good names sullied by the accusation of racism. It's such an outrage that it makes him dislike Indians, as well as making him write all in capitals. Go figure. Meanwhile "James Stuart of Melbourne" seems to think these three violent offenders are political prisoners, heroes for the right to free speech. Hmmm...
Now, there are perfectly legitimate reasons for questioning the need for a racial vilification law; for example, you could argue that any harmful act would probably be covered under our penal code, and thus not require another charge on top of that. But the anger of those commenters is sorely misplaced in this case. They should direct it toward the actual villains, a trio of thugs who drunkenly assault people for looking foreign. Given the constant crowing by Herald-Sun readers for tougher sentencing, they should remember that a charge of racial hate may mean the offenders actually do some meaningful time behind bars.


  1. If you look carefully, there are factional wars that go on in this state. For example, Christine Nixon took on the Police Union and police corruption, with Brumby's support and I think urging, and made for herself a mortal enemy in them. Evidently the Police Union allied itself with the Herald-Sun to carry out a vendetta against Nixon. Needless to say, they have been crucifying her for lighting the Black Saturday fires. The current Victorian Police Commissioner, Simon Overland, obviously an ally of Nixon, expressed his extreme displeasure relatively recently at The Australian newspaper reporting on a terrorist raid with the papers advertising this out for sale hours before the raid was carried out; Overland said he would find and prosecutor the leaker as well as The Australian. The Australian has since been carrying out a campaign against Overland and most recently recruited the Herald-Sun to exhume an old story about Overland that cast aspersions on his character, this tendentiousness recently pointed out by Media Watch.

    And now this. The Racial & Religious Vilification law has been out for a long time and now it's all of a sudden being applied. Hmmm. Premier Brumby said: "I'm happy to know that if there are people in our state who incite racial violence, who vilify others, I'm happy to know that the laws are there, we've put them in place and that they are being applied".

    Who do we all know well here who has made it his mission to INCITE racial (and religious) hatred and essentially work toward bringing back the White Australia Policy? (I believe you yourself wrote an article on this very incitement, Chris.) Could it be the same person, perchance, who's been carrying out a feverish lynching campaign against Nixon ever since she was appointed, and particularly regarding her lighting the Black Saturday bushfires?

    A shot across the bow by the Brumby/Nixon/Overland faction? How high can these laws be applied, I wonder? Only against the hoi polloi, or without fear or favour, even against those with the backing of the deepest of pockets?

    Interestinger and interestinger.

  2. The problem with the issue of racism, hate crimes, racial vilification laws (and other 'race-related' laws), and the mind-blowing idiocy of the Herald-Sun comments you highlighted, is the fact that people have NO CLEAR understanding of what race is. See any of Tim Wise's videos for great talks on race.

    It's fucked up that Australia is so blatantly proud and encouraging of racism politically (hello racist and human rights-violating policies one after another... Gillard looks suspiciously like another ginger-haired lass I despise...) and socially (getting beaten up for no reason other than their race is, according to Jimmy Po, '... a joke and a waste of time' - WTF?!!! It's okay to speak like this?! And in the media, it's okay to have a self-professed racist as a housemate on Big Brother, to have her spit racial slurs in the face of a lone Asian housemate on prime time tv? Okay to have a racist bigot celebrated on Dancing with the Stars? Okay that A Current Affair and Today Tonight still fuckin' exist?! This NEVER would have gone down in the US, and that's saying something).

    Racist policies/attitudes/conversations/discourses/crimes are not, for the most part, explicitly called 'racist' in Australia – they usually are masked and marketed as 'patriotism', 'protecting our borders', 'freedom of speech', 'having a strong stance on immigration and people smugglers', 'no longer being pc' and the list goes on. This is mind-blastingly absurd.

    The term 'race' has been dragged through the dirt, misappropriated, and crucified by those who deliberately ignore and negate it because they benefit most from convincing others to ignore race - they benefit from the politics, systems, institutions built to advantage their own race. So any talk of 'race' and race issues necessitates discussion of past wrongs against people of other races, oppression based on race, racial and cultural genocide, systems built to benefit the White race, like the justice system for fuck's sake.

    It's come to the point where they've been able to convince the public that speaking of 'race' is a problem, a 'joke', an excuse or a completely nonsensical discussion to have – from Brian Wood of Sunbury: 'Treat people as people not race' – If only that sentence were consistent with the rest of your idiotic capitalised waste of space. Sorry dickwad, ignoring an issue doesn't make it any better. Race IS an issue, and the attackers targetted the victim based on his race, so talk of treating 'people as people and not race' is fuckin' ignoring THE ISSUE - RACE! 'Old laws cover this adequately' - WTF?!!! That piece of shit was obviously pulled right out of his ass.

    [To be continued...]

  3. [Continued...]

    In response to:

    1. Mark of Knox: Doesn't negate the fact that it's a race-hate crime.

    2. Sid of Geelong: As above.

    3. Jimmy Po: Fuck you.

    4. Brian Wood of Sunbury: You are pulling shit out of your ass. 'Special laws for race' have been in place for a long, long time and to benefit the White majority - don't see anyone disputing those. So why your capitalised pseudo-egalitarian contradictory mess? Also, learn how to spell.

    5. Nathan of Melb: You are delusional. This 'bending over backwards' talk is just racist rhetoric, vomit if you will, that you've consumed without protest. 90% of the population is European (app. 70% are White). Australian history from colonialism has consistently been 'bending over backwards' for the White majority. This rhetoric of 'loss' and 'having to cater to non-White immigrants' is ridiculous, considering minorities are most at loss and have always been.

    6. NJS of Melb: Oh yes it would, fool. And if not as race-hate charges, the 'ethnic' attackers would not have been overwhelmingly supported by the likes of you as the White attackers in this case (the White victim too would not have been demonised as the Indian victim here).

    7. James Stuart of Melbourne: It's not a crime to express an opinion that you want your country to remain White. Hanson, Howard, Abbott, Gillard etc. have gotten and still get away with such opinions. But bashing someone up for no reason other than the fact that they're from a different race IS a crime. Your line of argument could be likened to: 'Why is expressing an opinion that wanting your country to be Black a crime?' Well it's not. But bashing up a White person based on this opinion IS a crime. There is a difference between opinion and ACTION. '... breach of International Human rights laws' - yes, if you're supporting the Indian victim, which you clearly are not.

    'Holding an opinion NO MATTER HOW REPREHENSIBLE is NOT and must NEVER be a crime" - yes, opinions really are hard to police, but the law is in place ideally to PROTECT people from fuckin' lunatics who want to express their fucked up opinions, especially in the form of violence. With your reasoning, a paedophile's opinion that having sex with a 3-year-old is okay, because it is their opinion, and somehow that is on par with the paedophile actually acting out based on that opinion. Uh, not the same thing. One is thought, one is action = CRIME (although expression of paedophilia, from what I know, might be a crime under the law. Well in any case, it'll certainly mess with your life if you admit that you're a paedophile...).

    Overall, thanks Eurasian Sensation for this article. It's pissed me off thoroughly, but informed me of the shit that's happening in Melbourne. The amount of race-hate levelled at Indians and other South Asians in Melbourne is fucked up. More other-Asian and Middle Eastern hate here in Sydney.

  4. @ Leigh:

    I'm sure it felt good to get all that off your chest!

    There's plenty more like that in the Herald-Sun for you to get steamed up over, don't worry.