Last week Saturday, 21-year-old accounting student Nitin Garg, was stabbed to death in Melbourne Australia . Garg is of South Asian descent. He was traveling to his part-time job at the fast food joint Hungry Jacks. According to the BBC, there has been a sharp decline of South Asian students studying overseas in Australia due to racism.
The Australian Tourism Forecast Committee predicts a 21% decline of 4000 South Asian students studying in Australia this year. The Australian Tourism Forecast Committee statistics indicate the drop in applications from South Asian students will cost Australia $70 million dollars.
The Melbourne police statistics are 1,447 South Asians have been victims of attacks in the state of Victoria in twelve months since July 2008.
South Asian student activist, Guatam Gupta, says the Melbourne police are downplaying the racist violence against South Asians even though they are being targeted by racists.
Garg death has intensified the friction between the Indian and Australian governments.
The Australian government and Melbourne police have attempted to downplay the brutal murder of Garg as just an anomaly. However, due to international media attention, the Australian government has been forced to accept responsibility to curb racist violence against minorities. South Asians aren’t the only minorities being targeted by racists.
Last year, a Sudanese refugee Dylan Sabatino, was murdered by an Australian Clinton Rintoull. Rintoull said he intended to “kill the blacks.”
Also, some South Asian activists blame the Australian media for having an ambivalent attitude towards the racism and violence against South Asian people. The international community is paying attention and Australia’s reputation has been shattered. According to media reports, Indian students have appealed to the South Asian media because the Australian media have an apathetic attitude that is deleterious.
South Asians students are staying away from Australia due to being victims of racism. In fact, more than 70,000 Indian students studied in Australia last year. Australia is one of the most richest countries in the world but Australia is more racist than North America.
The Australian government is downplaying the incredible racism South Asian students are experiencing in Australia. I am horrified. I always thought about visiting Australia. Now I can honestly say I am uncertain if I want to visit Australia anymore.
Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd traveled to India to attempt to calm to fears of the Indian government. Foreign students are important to Australia’s economy. For instance, 117,000 South Asians studied in Australia last year. Foreign students are big business in Australia, it is a $15.4 billion dollar industry and is Australia’s fourth largest export earner.
The truth is, the Australian government realized educated South Asian students are vital to the Australian economy. Why doesn’ t Australia have stricter punishment for racist attacks against minorities? The Australian government needs to do more to fight against racism against people of colour in Australia.