Melbourne, July 13 (ANI): Indian students studying in the Australian state of Victoria have complained of being left out of Sunday’s Walk for Harmony march.
An estimated 5000 people took part in the event that represented various multicultural communities of Victoria, The Age reports.
People streamed into Federation Square to celebrate the State Government-sponsored event, walking to the beat of many kinds of drums including those of the outlawed-in-China Falun Dafa, which was represented by a full marching band.
However, Melbourne’s Indian student community walked in small clutches and was at times difficult to spot amid other ethnic community and faith groups that assembled for the march in the Carlton Gardens.
Gautum Gupta and three friends, their mouths covered with masks in symbolic protest, said it was an event that was seeking to “dilute” the issue of racist attacks against Indian students.
“We have been left out. The issues are still out there – we don’t want the Government to dilute the issue and take the focus away from Indian student crime and a failing judicial system,” Gupta said.
He said that the Federation of Indian Students of Australia had supported the march and wanted to address the crowd to thank Victorians for their support. But when they discovered they would not be invited to speak, the group decided to boycott.
Premier John Brumby said all groups were welcome to participate but that only key leaders from government, business, unions and ethnic organisations would address the crowd.
“We’ve got 230 communities – there’d be a lot of speeches if everybody had their go,” he said.
The Federation of International Students was instead selected to represent international students.
The attacks against Indian students that initially led Premier Brumby to call for the march were not directly referred to, although he announced the establishment of a 24-hour “one-stop shop” to help international students with housing, counselling and support. (ANI)