The India thing again – never jump to conclusions

While I lambasted the Sydney Morning Herald in Anatomy of hate as magazine unleashes anti-Australian rage – or does it? the other day – rightly so I think – I had another post last month on the racism or not issue: The danger of jumping to conclusions? That post referred to “Two men believed to be employed by an Indian-born contract worker found stabbed and burnt in rural NSW have had their passports seized at Sydney Airport, Fairfax reports. Ranjodh Singh’s partially burnt body was found beside Wilga Road, Willbriggie, in the Riverina area of south-west NSW on December 29.”

See my earlier entry Nothing much to add to last year’s posts on Indian students and Australia. This is not to deny that the perpetrators of quite a number of the inner-city bashings and murders are quite probably racist individuals. My point, again, is to assert that Australians on the whole are no more racist than anyone else, and possibly less so than quite a few places.

Now we learn of the possible truth about another “racist attack” inspired perhaps by that story.

An Indian man who told police he was set on fire by a group of men in Essendon, in Melbourne’s north-west, has faced an out-of-sessions court hearing charged with making a false report to police.

Jaspreet Singh told police he was approached by four men and set on fire as he moved his car in Slater Street on January 8.

Police claim the 29-year-old accidentally set himself on fire while trying to set his car on fire.

Singh was treated for burns to 15 per cent of his body.

He will return to court in March to face charges of making a false report to police and criminal damage with a view to gain financial advantage.

The fire occurred a week after 21-year-old Indian man Nitin Garg was stabbed to death on his way to work in West Footscray.

The incidents have sparked outrage in India and among Indians in Melbourne, who say racist attacks are on the rise.

My point is not to deny there are ugly racists out there, just as there are still gay-bashers, but to remind us that the police and other authorities rightly avoid jumping to conclusions about such things in their public statements about matters under investigation or before the courts.

See also Adrian Neylan’s account of a recent incident. Adrian is a Sydney cab driver.

It seems that every other day we hear reports of violence against Indians living in Australia. Whilst the majority of attacks occur in Victoria, with a few in Queensland, Sydney has also seen attacks on Indians.

Now the censored police and media reports of the Victorian assaults has led to Australian cricketers in India being threatened by local terrorists. This is lamentable because many of the attacks there are being committed by ethnic groups other than cricket-loving whites.

Around midnight on Monday night I came across the aftermath of an assault on a cabbie outside a Sri Lankan diner in Surry Hills…