Moved by, and united against racial violence on Indians, known as “curry bashing” in Australia, thousands of Indian students took out a rally in Melbourne chanting the popular patriotic slogan ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai Ho’ (Long Live Mother India) on Sunday. The non-violent demonstration, called ‘peace rally’, was an expression of their demand for justice to victims of recent attacks.
The ‘peace rally’, organized jointly by Federation of Indian Students in Australia (FISA) and National Union of Students, commenced from outside the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where 25-year-old Shravan Kumar is in a critical condition in the intensive care unit after being stabbed by a screwdriver by a group of teens on last Sunday..
Over 5, 000 marchers walked down to the Victorian Parliament House on Spring street, holding placards with slogans like ‘We want Justice’, ‘We are the Economy Builders’ and ‘End Racist Attacks’ besides ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.
Displaying placard with messages like ‘Save our Students’ and ‘Stop Racist Violence’, Indian students demanded justice for the victims of racist violence.
Police were present in strength to maintain law and order as the rally led to traffic diversion at the Spring Street, which was completely blocked by the demonstrators who hoped to meet the Victorian Parliamentarians to put forward their demands.
Indian Consul General in Melbourne, Anita Nayar, described the rally as freedom of expression.
“Australia is a democratic country and it (this rally) is freedom of expression,” she said, hoping that that event remained peaceful and did not turn ugly.
Television footage of Kumar fighting for life in the hospital sent shock waves among the 95,000-strong Indian student community in Australia, which is home to over 4 lakh international students.
FISA had said on Saturday that the rally was being organized in response to the growing anger in the Indian community against increasing hate crimes.