Australia Flays Indian Media for Crying ‘Racism’ over Attacks

Flaying the Indian media for its coverage of attacks on Indians as racist, Australia has called for ‘some balance in reporting’, reported IANS.

The reaction came soon after an Indian national, Jaspreet Singh, 29, who claimed to have been attacked was found to have accidentally set himself on fire while attempting to torch his car to falsely claim insurance.

Objecting to the portrayal of the attacks against Indians as being racist, Victoria state premier John Brumby and Australian High Commissioner in India Peter Varghese said that it projected Australia in a negative light, said report.

Jaspreet, who had on Jan 8 claimed he was set alight by unknown assailants near his home in Melbourne suburb, has been charged with making a false report to the police and criminal damage with a view to gaining financial advantage.

Talking to reporters in Melbourne, Brumby was quoted as saying: “I think I’ll make a couple of comments and in a sense they go, as much as anything, to the way the Indian media and, to a lesser extent, some representatives in the Indian government, portray these events.”

Besides, he referred to the death of Ranjodh Singh whose body was found on the side of a road in New South Wales on Dec 29 last year, said report.

“I think the point needs to be made that the people who have been charged with that murder are both Indians,” Australian news agency AAP quoted Brumby as saying.

“And we’ve had this (Jaspreet Singh) case, which attracted a lot of attention in India, and police have charged an individual with setting fire to himself.

“So I hope that there is some balance to the debate, some balance to the reporting in India and certainly to date that balance hasn’t been there.”

In the meanwhile, Australian envoy Peter Varghese said in India: “Australia has zero tolerance for violence and zero tolerance for racism. Both are reflected in Australian law, and in the penalties the courts are handing out.”

In a statement, he said that the incident in which Jaspreet Singh claimed to have been set alight near his home in Melbourne was reported as a racist attack.

“It had done serious damage to Australia’s image in India. It had fuelled the view that Indians had been singled out for racist attacks in Australia,” he was quoted as saying.

He said the Jaspreet Singh case, together with the arrest on Jan 29 of three Indians for the murder of Ranjodh Singh, should be a lesson to all not to cry ‘racism’ every time something bad happened to an Indian in Australia, report said.

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