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South Asia Times Vol.14 I No. 8 I MARCH 2017 I FREE s o u t hasiatim .au Editor: Neeraj Nanda



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Srinivas Kuchibhotla By Rashid Sultan


ne Indian engineer is fatally shot and his friend wounded in a Kansas’ pub. A white American, trying to help Indians, also gets wounded. The murderer is a US Navy’s veteran. The killing is without any provocation except one shout from the killer ‘get out of my country’. Later the killer tells the bartender that he just shot 2 Iranians. The police makes a statement that they are treating the crime as a hate crime. A couple of weeks earlier a Sikh youth is shot dead, mistaking him for a Muslim, with the same cry ‘get out of my country’. The dead engineer’s father, in Hyderabad, appeals to all Indian parents not to send their children to the USA any more. New York’s police department’s chief detective reveals that there has been a 115% increase in hate crimes right after Trump’s victory. Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Centre says in a report that some hate crimes were always

happening in the country but, they have leapt at a stormy speed- 200- the day after Trump’s ‘coronation’ and 867 in the next 9 days. Many attackers invoked Trump’s name. There have been many attacks on mosques, synagogues and vandalism in Jewish cemeteries since Trump came to power. And Trump’s response? A meek and weak reference in his speech to the Congress. That’s all. Any similarity here and that of the sub-continent? All the jingoism and so-called nationalist rhetoric of the year- long election campaign calling Mexicans ‘rapists’, promising to build a wall along Mexican borders, deporting Muslims and migrants of all varieties to the country they came from and ‘making America great, once again’, has now come to fruition. This is, now, manifesting in total distrust of any one of a different colour- black or brown. It is interesting that the USA has been nothing but a great haven for migrants from all over the world since its inception. It is the migrants who have made America the wealthiest and themost strong nation on the earth through their scientific and

DISCLAIMER South Asia Times (SAT) is a monthly newspaper published in English (2 pages in Hindi) from Melbourne, Australia. Contributors supply material to SAT at their own risk and any errors will be corrected as quickly as possible. SAT does not accept responsibility for the authenticity of any advertisement, text content or a picture in the publication. No material, including text or advertisements designed by the SAT or pictures may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the editor/publisher. Opinions/stories/ reports or any text content are those of the writers/contributors and not necessarily endorsed by the SAT. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

technological skills they brought with them. Think for a moment of Silicon Valley. Where would it be without Indian specialists? Indians hold nearly half of the H1B visas, issued to highly skilled migrants. 130,000 Indian students are admitted every year in the US (calculate the enormous fees charged from them) who, in turn, pay handsome taxes after they join the workforceand make America the largest economy in the world (but,alas, their days are numberedon this pedestal; China is going to usurp this title within a decade). During the electioneering,a common refrain was that if migrants are not expelled or stopped, the whites would turn into a minority in the country by 2040. No wonder that Mr Trump’s cabinet is stuffed with shock jocks and people with known record of being white supremacists. The only difference is they,in their new avatar, do not don the white robes of the Ku Klux Klan of the not- so- long earlier era. They have given themselves a new name- Alt-right (alternative right). But, oddly enough, they adore the dictator of Russia, Putin. Any similarity, here between Trump and Putin? A couple of the members of the cabinet have already been shown the door due to fierce attack in the media for their Russian rendezvouses. Certainly more revelations are bound to come if the CIA and FBI are not strangulated. Today’s America is felt like the Europe of 1930s during Hitler’s Third Reich where weak, vulnerable sections were targeted and made into second class citizens and also resulted into massacres. It will come as no surprise if migrants are asked to wear identity cards in the not- too- distant future. One question going abegging. The atmosphere of racism, hatred of religious and cultural minorities and ofmigrants was the cause of Trump’s enthroning or his victory has inspired the spate of these hate crimes ?



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The economic impact of gender based violence By Ambassadors for change


ar 9 2017 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh) - No country can afford gender-based violence. In Bangladesh, the costs of gender-based violence are estimated at 2.1 percent of the country’s GDP. Each day, violence stops a girl from going to school and prevents a woman from taking a job, compromising their future and the economic and social development of their communities. Survivors are left to deal with physical injuries and emotional scars, while social and legal services struggle to respond. Can Bangladesh continue its much-heralded progress toward middle-income status if its economy is robbed of the invaluable resource of half its population? Achieving gender equality is a top priority for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in improving the lives of women and girls. Primary

and secondary schools enrol as many girls as boys. Maternal and infant mortality have declined dramatically, and women form the backbone of the country’s economic development. The readymade garment industry, Bangladesh’s largest export sector, employs four million Bangladeshis, the majority of whom are

women. The percentage of females in the sector is waning, however, and as this industry undertakes structural transformations, the role and place of women in the Bangladesh economy must become a priority for policies and programmes. The creation and expansion of microfinance that prioritises women entrepreneurs

has increased female participation in economic activities and is among Bangladesh’s most significant contributions to increased global prosperity. Gender-based violence undermines this progress. More than 80 percent of currently-married Bangladeshi women are abused at least once during - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

Working women who experience violence at home lose income due to days off and may face costs to access services. Eliminating gender based violence promotes Bangladesh’s economic progress. their lifetime, either by suffering physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse, or controlling behaviour. CONTD. ON PG 6

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Andrew’s Govt. moves ahead with taxi reforms amidst opposition By SAT News Desk


elbourne, 13 March: The war of attrition between a section of cabbies and the Andrews government seems to be escalating with the passing of a bill that will legalise Uber and existing taxi drivers will be compensated along with a single registration system for taxis, hire cars and ride-sharing services. Some cabbies claim to have paid much more than the compensation offered. The Bill passed unamended, despite Liberal attempts to remove financial support for the existing taxi industry. The Labor Government also rejected Liberal amendments that would have removed $25 million in funding to improve services for people with a disability or mobility impairment. The Opposition also sought to remove the need for international rideshare companies to be accredited to operate in Victoria, and tried to delay the Bill by referring the matter to yet another Parliamentary inquiry. The Labor Government rejected these Liberal Party attempts to water-down and delay the comprehensive

reform package, which will replace Victoria’s complex licencing regime with a single registration system that will ensure stronger standards, safer services and create 3,500 local jobs. It says, “By stripping away complexity and red tape, the reforms will encourage new providers and boost competition – providing more choice, better services and cheaper fares for passengers.” Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan “The Liberal Party are hell bent on abandoning local, family-run taxi-businesses and giving multi-national companies free-reign to

operate in Victoria without accreditation.” “We have flatly rejected the Opposition’s attempts to abandon the taxi industry and people with disabilities, and are getting on with fairly supporting the industry, boosting competition and improving services for passengers.” A media state government media release says, “The Bill also introduces $494 million in assistance for the existing taxi and hire car industry – the largest transition and support package in Australia. Through this package perpetual metropolitan licence holders will receive

$100,000 for their first licence and $50,000 per licence for up to three more. Ninety-eight per cent of owners have four licences or less.” The reform package includes a $50 million Fairness Fund to provide targeted assistance for industry participants experiencing significant financial hardship. A $2 per trip levy will also be introduced as part of the Bill. The levy, which won’t be introduced until next year, will fund the industry support package and replace annual licence fees – currently up to $23,000 – considerably reducing the

cost of operating a taxi, paving the way for more competition and cheaper fares. Georgia Nicholls, CEO of the Victorian Taxi Association (peak industry body representing taxis in Victoria) says, “We do not support the compensation package as it stands, or the structure of the proposes ‘levy’. The taxi industry understands the need to move with the times. However, as a part of this process, people who invested and contributed to our industry (whose structures were determined by government for decades) must not be simply left behind.”

The economic impact... CONTD. FROM PG 5 Approximately two-thirds of married women report having experienced violence by a spouse within the past year. Bangladesh’s high rate of child, early, and forced marriage puts millions of girls at increased risk for physical and sexual violence. Few victims report these incidents because they do not know their rights under Bangladeshi law or fear reprisal, stigma, or an unhelpful response from law enforcement. Fear of violence in the workplace or the street restricts women’s mobility and limits their opportunities to earn an income. Working women who experience violence at home lose income due to days off and may face costs to access services. Eliminating gender based violence promotes

Bangladesh’s economic progress. Ending this is a simple matter of right and wrong; ensuring girls and women can live without fear of violence is a fundamental step in the pursuit of non-violence, not only for girls and women, but for boys and men as well. Stopping the cycle of violence requires raising awareness and engagement at all levels of society. Change can start with local initiatives. One example is the SHOKHI project – financed by the Netherlands Embassy and implemented by a consortium of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Bangladesh Women’s Health Coalition, Marie Stopes Bangladesh, and WE CAN Bangladesh – that trains women living in 15 Dhaka slums on ways to earn money for their

families, linking them to potential employers through job fairs and referrals. Australia and the United Kingdom are supporting the World Food Programme to develop livelihoods for vulnerable women in Cox’s Bazar district, where women’s self-help groups are starting bank accounts with savings contributed by each participant and individual women can buy start-up assets and receive entrepreneurial training. Changing the mindset and putting in place the economic fundamentals and necessary institutions to accelerate growth and reduce poverty, leaving no one behind, will be a key part of the formula to achieve middle income status. Improving the social status and rights of women and girls is a crucial part of this transformation. Each of

us can take simple steps to accelerate this transformation by refusing to tolerate or excuse gender-based violence and by offering help to those experiencing abuse. We, the Ambassadors for Change, representing the governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Sri Lanka, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as UN Women, the United Nations Population Fund, the United States Agency for International Development and the World Food Program, call upon each of you to stand with us, our Bangladeshi sisters and male allies to end gender-based violence once and for all! The writers are High Commissioner of Australia to Bangladesh; Ambassador of Brazil to Bangladesh; High Commissioner of Brunei - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

Darussalam to Bangladesh; High Commissioner of Canada to Bangladesh; Ambassador of France to Bangladesh; High Commissioner of Malaysia to Bangladesh; Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Bangladesh; Ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh; High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Bangladesh; Ambassador of Sweden to Bangladesh; High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Bangladesh; Ambassador of the United States to Bangladesh; USAID Bangladesh Mission Director; Country Representative, UN Women; Acting Country Representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); and Country Director, World Food Program (WFP). This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh


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community ‘Victorian. And proud of it.’ policy launched


Celebrate diversity, not simply tolerate it, says Premier Daniel Andrews

By Neeraj Nanda


ELBOURNE, Sunday 19: The Victorian Premier Mr. Daniel Andrews today called upon the community to celebrate diversity, not simply tolerate it. He was launching along with Deputy Premier James Merlino, Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott and Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton joined hundreds of community leaders at the Punt Road Oval to launch ‘Victorian. And proud of it’. The new multicultural

policy aims “to build on Victoria’s proud immigrant history and reaffirm the shared values that make us a stronger, safer and more harmonious community.” “We are stronger for our diversity – but that doesn't mean it's always easy. In the face of extremism and fear, we need to reaffirm what is most important to us." “Being a Victorian isn’t just about where you live. It’s about contribution and belonging, Premier Daniel Andrews said.” The policy includes a series of initiatives to encourage Victorians – - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

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from all walks of life, all circumstances and all cultural backgrounds – to contribute and belong. “Being a Victorian isn’t just about where you live. It’s about contribution and belonging.” Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier James Merlino “As a child of a migrant this is my family’s story – we are proud to have been an integral part of building this country.” The policy is underpinned by the Victorian Values Statement, which articulates the values all Victorians should live by – one law for all, freedom to be yourself, discrimination is never acceptable, a fair go for all and that it is up to all of us to contribute. A media release from the Premier Hon. Daniel Andrews office says, “Victorians are encouraged to read the stories of their fellow citizens on proud.vic. and share their own. To achieve a strong and cohesive Victoria, the Labor Government will: • Ensure every Victorian knows their responsibilities and rights under the law through a $2.3 million awareness program • Promote civil dialogue among Victorians and strengthen supportive social networks through a Right to Debate initiative • Help young people avoid being manipulated and drawn to extremism by way of a Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship program • Reduce discrimination with the delivery of a $1 million Anti-Racism Action Plan.” A print and broadcast advertising campaign around ‘Victorian. And proud of it.’ will also began today. In his speech Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott said, “To build a strong and fair society takes work, but we all deserve to enjoy the benefits of a dynamic and diverse Victoria.” “We all have something to contribute. To foster everyone’s sense of belonging, so they feel pride in their home and their state, is one of the most important things government can do,” he said.


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Massive crowds at the


AIII Holi 2017

BY SAT News Desk


elbourne, 12 March: The Australian Indian Innovations Inc. (AIII) celebrated its 2017 Holi fair at the Springers Leasure Park, Tatterson Park, Keysborough with great gaiety and enthusiasm. Thousands of Holi revellers thronged the place and had a massive dose of entertainment. Surrounded by stalls all around and the main stage on one side the Holi fair gave the impression of a fortified entertainment enclave surrounded by green environs and a small lake with Ducks on the other side. The day started with the SIMDA Music Group proudly presenting the “SHMF 2017 -

Spirit & Harmony Music Festival 2017with spiritual, devotional, classical, popular music and instrumentals for three hours, followed by Holika Dahan, and followed by unlimited music by DJ Vijay and Dr RnB Entertainment. People danced with Bollywood hits and played Holi with powder colours. There were people from all walks of life and so many Australians and students and others of different communities participated. The VIP’s who addressed the crowd included Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams, Inga Peulich, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Mr. Malhotra, Indian Consulate. The VIPs then played Holi

with the crowd and posed for photographs. An interesting feature of the fair were the kids rides and Camel rides. The food, Henna, Vodafone, Central Equity, Aussiz Travels, Telstra and other stalls remained popular. The alcohol free event was well secured by security and there were no parking problems. It can safely be said the festival was grand, full of colour, massive entertainment, fun and lots of networking. People also got to have the sweet taste of sugarcane juice at one of the stalls. One stall distributed free ice cream. A well done event by the AIII team and its volunteers. No doubt, an event never to be forgotten. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

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Share your wisdom with India: New Indian H.C. Dr A. M. Gondane By Neeraj Nanda


elbourne, 14 February: The new Indian High Commissioner in Australia H.E. Dr. A. M. Gondane, has called upon Indians in Australia to give back to India their wisdom attained in Australia. Mr. Gondane was addressing a select gathering of prominent Indian community leaders during a meet-greet event organised by the Confederation of Indian Australian Association Inc. (CIAA) at the Hungarian Community Centre.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Gondane said, ‘Individual success is a celebration and in its background is the sweat and labour of India’s farmers, labourers and many others who did not get the benefits of your success.” “Those who left the of India can now see that the basic challenges have been confronted and overcome,’ he said. He further said,” you should have a sense of pride in the experiment called India. You need not be defensive, as today, health, universal education etc. have made great strides in India. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082


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‘Hugging Saint’ Amma’s Australia visit in April


elbourne, 5 March: Celebrated spiritual and humanitarian leader Sri Mata Amritanandamayi will visit Melbourne again in April. Tour organizers at her Australian Ashram in Carrum Downs are anticipating several thousand people to attend her free public programs, which comprise talks, devotional music and a personal meeting with her. Affectionately known as Amma, she is recipient of numerous international awards including, the prestigious ‘Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence’, in recognition of her comprehensive charitable projects and efforts to promote peace and harmony. Amma’s Kerala based NonGovernment Organization, Embracing the World, now holds special United Nations consultative status. Its vast humanitarian initiatives range from education, science, IT, medicine and hospitals, to disaster relief, housing, agriculture, environmental and women’s support programs. A high

tech project is Amrita University’s satellite connectivity venture in which 25 US universities, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton, cooperate to enhance education and research via 50 universities throughout India.

Amazingly, much of this innovation is supported by volunteers - people inspired by Amma’s extraordinary acts of love and selfsacrifice. Her walk the talk, hands on example of selfless service generates energy and motivation to assist

in her efforts to alleviate humanity’s suffering. Travelling the world nine months per year, Amma has endeared herself to millions over the last 40 years. In fact, through her unique signature act of compassion, her Darshan – a close hug, - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

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she has tenderly embraced an estimated 36 million people globally, accepting all, irrespective of race, beliefs, gender or status. In the arms of her boundless love, many have experienced comfort and refuge from the myriad pains of human misery. Others feel peace and upliftment, or gain surprising insights. Still others are just curious. Amma’s spiritual message of peace and unity through patience, tolerance and forgiveness resonates in the hearts of many who meet her. “My religion is love”, she says simply. And in her teachings of self-knowledge, she also reminds that, “Our mind and attitude make our experiences bitter or sweet.” More details about Amma’s 2017 Australian tour are at www. and for information about humanitarian projects www.embracingtheworld. Enquiries Michaela Rost 0421 202990 ; Julie Cairns 0416 184651For M.A.Centre Australia www. —Supplied



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Jude Perera inaugurates Sikh Volunteers ‘Free Food Van’

By SAT News Desk


ELBOURNE, 18 February: The homeless and the needy will now no more go hungry. The Sikh Volunteers Australia (SVA) have

started a new help service Free Food Van today at the Lynbrook Community Centre to provide free food to such people in the community. Local state MP Hon. Jude Perera inaugurated the service which was attended

by many dignitaries, community leaders and local families. Dignitaries including Cr.Steve Beardon, Cr. Rex Flannery, Rajinder Dhingra, Monica Dhingra, Nirmal Singh Namdhari, Shoheli Sunjida, Rasna HS and

many more community leaders and volunteers were present. Addressing the gathering attended by about 200 people, Hon.MP Jude Perera praised the SVA and the Sikh Community for their generous service and support work for the most

vulnerable people in our society by providing them with free meals and other services. SVA’s Lakhwinder Singh thanked all those who attended and said it encouraged the organisation to serve the community.

Community interaction at the Indian Consulate

By SAT community reporter


Melbourne, 10 March: Communicating to and informing the community and Indian international students about services at the Consulate and Indian government programs is full of challenges. This came out during an Open House information session followed by a Q-A session at the Indian Consulate, Melbourne. Consul General of India Melbourne, Manika Jain in her presentation explained the many programs and schemes of the Indian Government and how information about them can be easily accessed through websites and Apps. This included the Helpline for travellers, Customs App, e-visa, International students’ survival guide, student’s registration, Madad portal, Consular services, Know India Program, Study in India

program, Youth Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas etc. International students raised issues including travel concession, lack of information about Indian Government programs for

overseas Indians and the need for a guide which can inform about living issues in Australia. The consensus was that Indian international students should network

among themselves apart from coming to the Indian Consulate for assistance. Manika Jain advised them to get registered at the Consulate so that they could get Consulate information - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

Consul General of India Melbourne, Manika Jain in her presentation explained the many programs and schemes of the Indian Government and how information about them can be easily accessed through websites and Apps. This included the Helpline. and look at the Consulate social media pages for latest developments and schemes.

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International Women's Day celebrated

Gender issues remain amidst intricate situations

By Neeraj Nanda


MELBOURNE, 8 March: Life is not easy for a migrant woman. It’s tough to join the mainstream. Sexism comes as you

progress in jobs. Women do not support other women. These are some views expressed as four women and a man came out with personal experiences and observations to mark the International Women’s

Day 2017, at the Indian Consulate, Melbourne. Consul Manika Jain introduced the subject and gave an overview of the changing role of Indian women saying they faced hardships but were never

ignored. Marika Vicziany, Prof. at the National Centre for South Asian Studies, Monash Asia Institute detailed challenges she faced as a migrant woman and how “it is about enjoying life, having fun and respecting each other.” Mitu Bhowmick Lange, Director of Mind Blowing Films & Director of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne in her ground to earth presentation said “it’s hard when you are excluded from the mainstream.” “When I was pregnant people told me “How do you do the film festival despite being pregnant.” She wondered, “Why women do not support women”. Dr. Mridula Chakraborty, Deputy Director, Monash Asia Institute disclosed that in India there were only 13 women Vice Chancellors out of the 431 universities. “Gender issues also need to be seen through class and caste,” she said. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

On a question by SAT that the International Women’s Day was tokenism and real issues were ignored, most in the panel agreed real day to day issues need more solutions but the world needs to be reminded again and again through events like this that gender issues need to be addressed. Monika Thukaral, Air India Country and Airport Manager, Melbourne told about the challenges she faced in her job with a toddler at home and how her seniors encouraged her to try for a higher position. She felt performance was important and how now 100 per cent Air India flights from Melbourne are on time. Prof. Suresh Bhargava, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor International, RMIT, the only man in the panel said, “The organising of this event itself was a breakthrough” Gender issues are thousands of years old and things are changing. Men are with women,” he said.


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Tackling the complex issue of youth offending By Chief Commissioner of Police Graham Ashton


elbourne, 8 March: Every so often our community is confronted with a worrying and complex problem which touches everyday lives, dominates headlines and divides opinion on possible solutions. Family violence and the scourge of the drug ‘ice’ are two recent examples which captured the public’s attention. While these issues initially present as matters of law enforcement, you need only to scratch the surface to find deeper origins and causes well before police have become involved. Young people committing serious and violent crime has become a similar such issue. I would not for one minute suggest the harm being inflicted by a small cohort of youth offenders is anywhere near as widespread as that being caused by ice and family violence. But for the victims of these terrible crimes, the effects are shattering and demand our complete attention.

That’s why at Victoria Police we have been working hard to deal with youth offending from both sides of the problem: with tough enforcement to keep the community safe, and also an inquiring mind to understand the social factors are at play, and a commitment to drive cross sector collaboration that might assist prevent these crimes in the first place. For many in the community, this coming Labour Day long weekend marks one year since this problem came to the fore. The violent behaviour we saw at the usually fun and family-friendly Moomba festival were completely unacceptable and police ensured that every person involved was held to account. Unfortunately it was a very public and offensive display of a problem police had been grappling with for several months. It must be said that the involvement of young people in crime is slightly more complex than many realise. Our statistics show that the number of young people involved in crime has actually been decreasing. However police have been dealing with

The violent behaviour we saw at the usually fun and family-friendly Moomba festival were completely unacceptable and police ensured that every person involved was held to account.

Chief Commissioner of Police Graham Ashton a group of repeat offenders who have committed a higher volume of more serious and violent crimes. Our police have been shocked to find young teenagers with no prior criminal history committing serious offences and showing off in stolen cars with a group of other kids they may have never met before. These young people are loosely networked through mutual friends and social media; they don’t follow the old fashion idea of having gang club houses or wearing colours. Regardless, the seriousness of the offending has necessitated a swift and thorough police intervention. In May last year, Operation Cosmas was established as a state-wide response to the rise in aggravated burglaries and carjackings we were seeing committed by people largely under the age of 25. The operation helped to tally over 460 arrests, driving a reduction in the offending across the second half of last year. Beyond Cosmas, police have been working at all levels with exceptional energy to deal with a rising crime rate.

Our members on the frontline are arresting more offenders, cracking down on crime harder than ever before – making 30% more arrests last year than 5 years ago. And we’re investing and growing our teams in critical areas. We know that in today’s digitally connected world, social media can be used to very quickly mobilise people to their causes. What used to be peaceful protests are all too often in today’s world met by counter protests, tipped off by postings on social media. We need to be prepared for that and we are. We’ve put more people into our Public Order Response Teams. We’ve provided them with new training, new vehicles and new equipment so that they are ready to respond quickly in the event of breakdowns in the peace. And we have brought online our Monitoring and Assessment Centre. Modelled on New York’s state-of the-art “Real Time Crime Centre”, the ‘MAC’ utilises a combination of live CCTV and intelligence inputs to help us get ahead of the game and pounce on any trouble before it has the chance to kick off. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

We saw this in full effect on White Night this year and it will play a major role this Moomba weekend as well. But the police response to the behaviour of our young people is only part of the solution. If you believe as I do that young people are the future of our community, then it is critically important that we find cross-community solutions to keep them engaged and prevent them from ever coming to the attention of police. To that end, last year I convened a Youth Summit bringing together government and community youth stakeholders and some young people themselves to kickstart a process of leadership and collaboration. From that Summit we saw some solid outcomes including a suite of government reforms, new laws and resources which will increase the supervision and accountability of at-risk young people. But most importantly, we found a shared commitment to paving a way forward. There is no doubt that we have been challenged over the past 12 months, but a lot of work has been put in as well. We all want to ensure that Melbourne continues to be a city where families can enjoy themselves without the concern or fear of being a victim of crime. —Supplied



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The Justice Project to help protect rule of law & human rights M BY SAT News Desk

Melbourne, 10 March: The Law Council has announced that it is conducting a comprehensive national review into the impediments to justice in Australia, focusing on those facing significant social and economic disadvantage in our community. The Justice Project will uncover systemic flaws and ensure the path towards equal access to justice is clearly mapped-out. It will report its findings by the end of November this year. A Steering Committee of eminent Australians, chaired by The Hon Robert French AC, former Chief Justice of the High Court, will oversee the Project.

The President of the Law Council of Australia, Fiona McLeod SC, said that “access to justice is a bedrock principle for our society and a means of protecting, promoting and defending the rule of law and human rights of all people. It is a core tenet of our modern democracy, yet unfortunately there are many who are missing out. “A person’s formal right to justice and equal treatment before the law is of no value if he or she cannot effectively access the legal system or secure protection of basic rights,” Ms McLeod said. “Whether it is the pressures upon court resourcing and long backlogs, lack of access to legal advice or representation, or laws and practices that compound

unfairness, the inequity experienced by many can have a devastating impact upon their lives.” The Justice Project will inform its work with a review of the existing research on access to justice issues and explore what is working and why, with constructive, informed recommendations for future action. The Project will seek submissions and involve consultation with individuals and organisations with on the ground experience and focus on case studies that illuminate the key impediments and solutions. “I am delighted that former High Court Chief Justice Robert French AC, has agreed to chair the Steering Committee, and very grateful for the contribution of our expert

Committee members,” Ms McLeod said. “The review will investigate how these issues affect key groups such as: the elderly, young people, those living in remote areas, the homeless and marginalised and the many in our community who have experienced crisis in their lives, are exploited or face significant discrimination. “This is a significant undertaking to examine critical issues that need to be urgently addressed. “We need to ask ourselves whether our idea of Australia as a free and open society, committed to the fair-go, stands up to scrutiny when it comes to access to justice. At the moment this is a very difficult question to answer,” Ms McLeod said. —Source: Medianet. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

A person’s formal right to justice and equal treatment before the law is of no value if he or she cannot effectively access the legal system or secure protection of basic rights.

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SAPAC literary meet excels By SAT News Desk


elbourne: Migrants from different languages, cultures and faiths have much in common was reflected at the South Asian Public Affairs Council (SAPAC) annual literary meet held last month. Reflecting the issues in their countries of origin and their new adopted country, the literary figures with their poems and literary creations from South Asian countries were heard with attention. Enthusiastic members originating from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives proved beyond doubt their literary talent laced with their deep commitment to multicultural Australia. With poetry and literature in so many languages on the stage it was a treat. The SAPAC’s motto is to cultivate collaborative spirit among migrants from these countries, promote their cultural values, and help them integrate into the mainstream Australian society. This is what the literary event did. SAPAC provided a unique platform where they shared their literary contribution with the wider community. This event had a unique format: poets recite their

poem in a language of their country and the English version is simultaneously projected on a screen for the general audience. This year the event was successfully organised on 25 February 2017 which was coordinated by Dr Kaushal Srivastava. In the beginning he outlined the role of SAPAC in promoting social harmony, underlined the importance of the literary event, and praised the younger generation of authors for their engagement with literature. Dr Shahbazz Choudhary, the outgoing President of SAPAC,

formally welcomed the distinguished guests and other participants. As the event progressed, Dr Mridul Kirti, a recipient of awards from the President of India, recited her poem in Hindi. Dr Izhar ul Haq, a recipient of awards from the President of Pakistan, recited his poem in Urdu. Hon. Julian Hill MP, Federal member for Bruce, recited a poem in English on the multicultural theme which was well appreciated. Cr Steve Beardon and Cr Rex Flanery praised this multilingual event and thanked the organisers. Dr

Chidambaram Srinivasan, the Commissioner of Victoria Multicultural Commission, appreciated the underlying novelty of the event which was a worthwhile effort to sustain the literary interest of the wider community. At the event 22 poets recited their poems and 4 books were launched. Some notable poets were: Dr Kaushal Srivastava (Hindi), Dr Subhash Sharma (Hindi), - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

Dr Harihar Jha (Hindi), Ms Sonal Sharma (Hindi), Ahmed Shuvo (Bangla), Tarnnum Afrin (Bangla), Arshad Saeed (Urdu), wida Tausif (English), Upekasha Senanayeke (Sinhalese), Suman Kularathna (Tamil), Syed Hamid Hasmi (Afghani), and Riru Tripathy (Nepali). Books launched were: Untold Journeys (Malaika Gilani), One Face Two Minds (Kaushal K Srivastava), Agony Churns My Heart (Harihar Jha), Don’t Give Up Your Dreams (wida Tausif). In the intervening period Ms Gangotri and her team presented a Bengali classical dance that provided the well-deserved entertainment. More than 120 people were present and they were served with light refreshment at the end. Ms Kaushaliya Vaghela, Secretary, thanked the participants and the audience. The financial support provided by the Monash Council was acknowledged. No doubt, the hard work of the SAPAC committee and individual members helped make the event a spectacular success. —With inputs by Dr Kaushal Srivastava.


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Do You Need Disability (TPD) Cover? BY Balki Balakrishnan


typical family should have these five types of insurance covers – Life & Terminal Illness (TI), Total & Permanent Disability (TPD), Trauma, Income Protection and Child Trauma covers. In the January 2017 edition of this newspaper we explored the why we need Life & Terminal Illness cover and the features of this type of cover. This article looks at Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) cover and describes what you should be aware of. TPD Insurance is an insurance policy that pays a lump sum if you become disabled and are unable to ever work again because of illness or injury. The cover is available to non-working spouse as well. In the main you use the payout for mortgage payments, day-to-

day expenses, ongoing care, and medical bills. Common misconceptions about TPD cover are that “I will receive disability pension” and “I have default cover within my super and it’s enough”. But the reality is that only about 15% of claimants are granted disability pension (Source: news/2016-06-24/rule-changeleads-to-plunge-in-disabilitypension-claims/7538070) and 63% of Australians are under insured when it comes to disability insurance. (Source: Under insurance: Disability Protection Gap in Australia, KPMG Actuarial Pty Ltd, January 2014). In 2017 alone there will be more than 55,000 new and recurrent strokes – that is 1000 strokes every week or one stroke every 10 minutes. More importantly, 65% of stroke survivors suffer a disability which impedes their ability to carry out daily living activities unassisted.

(Source: https:// About-Stroke/Facts-andfigures-about-stroke). You may want to review the disability cover you have and determine the amount of cover you require and the features of cover that is comfortable to you. A typical TPD cover will have many features such as – choice of definition of TPD, Partial TPD benefits, future insurability, Life buy-back option and a range of other benefits and options. One of the important TPD

cover feature is your choice of disability definition – Any Occupation TPD and Own Occupation TPD. Generally, Own Occupation TPD has a better chance of payout on a claim than the Any Occupation TPD. Therefore, it is very important to understand the difference between these two features and chose the appropriate one. Your occupation will determine whether you can chose Own Occupation TPD or not. Any Occupation TPD can be organized under your super environment and thus premiums are paid from your super money. Own Occupation TPD can only be organized outside of super environment because of the government legislation. Most of the Australians have their TPD cover through their super funds. You should be mindful that not all TPD cover products offered by these funds are the same. For example with most of the funds the cover amount default to an arbitrary amount and therefore may

not achieve the financial outcome you may wish to achieve for your family. The cover amounts may reduce as you age and may cease when you reach a certain age thus becoming irrelevant over time. With some of the funds you may be unable to continue with the existing TPD cover arrangements on change of employer and may have to go through an underwriting process if you want to retain this cover. It is also possible that your claim may be declined because the super balance has dropped below a certain level at the time of claim and also when you are on leave. TPD cover is a complex type of insurance and you would need the expertise of a Financial Advisor who will educate you, discuss with you and ultimately implement a solution that is appropriate to your circumstances and needs. It is important that you get this cover correct the first time to avoid unpleasant surprises at the time of claim...

The trustee of COMMUNITY FINANCIAL SERVICES Unit Trust ACN 155 048 132 is an Authorised Representative and Credit Representative of AMP Financial Planning Pty Limited, Australian Financial Services Licensee and Australian Credit Licensee. Balki Balakrishnan

Financial Advisor Authorised Representative & Credit Representative

This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information. If you decide to purchase or vary a financial product, your financial adviser, Community Financial Services Pty Ltd and other companies within the AMP Group may receive fees and other benefits. The fees will be a dollar amount and/or a percentage of either the premium you pay or the value of your investment. Please contact us at 0419 506 560 if you want more information. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082



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southSouth asia times 23 Asia Times

Migrant workers will be hardest hit by penalty rates cut

By SAT News Desk


elbourne, 2 March: The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) says that migrant workers will be hardest hit by new laws introduced by the Turnbull Government. National CFMEU Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said that while the Turnbull Government is attacking all workers, those from non- English speaking

backgrounds are particularly vulnerable. “In the construction industry, new laws mean wages will be cut and conditions and safety for workers will be cut. “There will be more people in casual employment and less job security. “People will be fearful of speaking out for fear of losing their jobs,” he said. Mr Noonan said the new laws banned unions from being able to protect people

from bad employers who rip off workers. “Many workers of non-English speaking background come to the union for help because they have been underpaid and have not received their legal entitlements. “These new laws will make exploitation of workers worse. We will be banned from putting in protections for workers over a range of issues in agreements. “We will be banned from negotiating for

apprenticeships and skills training.” Mr Noonan said the Turnbull Government’s assaults were not just aimed at construction workers. “The decision to cut penalty rates that affects the lowest paid workers in Australia shows that this Government is about cutting wages of all workers at a time when business profits are at a 15 year high.” The CFMEU is planning a big campaign to protest - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

against the Turnbull Government which begins with the National Day of Action on March 9. Rallies will be held in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart, Canberra and Adelaide. Perth will rally on March 21. “We must oppose Turnbull’s assault on working people, pensioners, the disabled and the poor. It’s time to stand up and fight back.” —Source: Medianet.

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UP election analysis

UP’s Modi Wave Unprecedented in 40 Years

By Abhishek Waghmare


he BJP’s performance in UP is the best by any party after 1977, when the Janata Party won 352 seats of 425. The SP and BSP have maintained their vote share but failed it to translate into seats. In an outcome unmatched over the last 40 years, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 312 out of 403 (77.4%) seats in India’s largest state assembly in its most-populous state, increasing its vote share by 25 percentage points from the 2012 assembly elections to 39.7% in 2017. The BJP almost repeated its performance from the 2014 parliamentary elections, when it won 42.7% votes and 73 (more than 90%) of 80 Lok Sabha seats. Despite the effects of demonetisation and the perception that voters behave differently in parliamentary and assembly elections, it would take a historic vote swing favouring the Samajwadi Party (SP)-Congress alliance or the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to keep the BJP from sweeping UP, as IndiaSpend had predicted in January 2017. This performance–vote share, and seats won as a percentage of total seats–is the best by any party after 1977, when, in the wake of the Emergency being lifted, the Janata Party won 352 seats of 425 (82.8%) seats and garnered 47.8% votes from the people of UP. The BJP almost exactly replicated the performance of the Congress in 1980, when the Congress won 309 seats with 39.6% of the votes, while the BJP won 11 seats with 10.8% votes. In 2017, the BJP has 312 seats with 39.7% votes, while the Congress has seven seats with 6.2% of UP’s votes. The SP and BSP

maintained their core vote share of at least 20%–the SP had 29% of the votes in 2012 and the BSP, 26%–in the 2017 assembly elections, but they could not translate those into seats. Our analysis of assembly elections since 1993, after the formation of the SP, shows that both SP and BSP were consistent in growing their vote shares, while the vote shares of the major national parties, the BJP and the Congress, reduced. The BJP in 2017 has registered its best

performance ever, the Congress its worst ever since 1977, and the SP and BSP the worst ever since their inception. After being the single largest party and forming the government for one term (1997-2002) in the 1993-2002 period, the BJP remained out of power in UP for 15 years. The Congress never again achieved the 15% vote share it achieved in 1993. The BSP improved its vote share from the 19.8% in 2014 Lok Sabha election to 22.2% in the 2017; in 2012, it

won 26% of the vote share, winning 80 seats; in 2017 it is down to 19. BJP makes U-shaped recovery, Congress continues downfall Looking back at the last four decades, the BJP started modestly in 1980, winning 11 seats with 11% of UP’s votes, as we said. So dominant were the SP and BSP over the last 30 years, the BJP and Congress were compared with a third front. Except for three of the last 11 state elections, - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

non-Congress and non-BJP parties put together always garnered more than a third of the votes, winning more than half the state’s vote in 2007. In the four decades since 1980, UP was ruled by the Congress the first decade, followed by the BJP’s rise and a fractured mandate that benefitted regional parties in 1989 and 1993 during the second decade, followed by 15 years of regional party dominance. (Courtesy: IndiaSpend). March 12, 2017.


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Resurgent racism rattles Modified US desis

By Mohan Jyoti Dutta


ingapore, March 8: Since the racially/ religiously-targeted attack on Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani -- Srinivas later succumbed to the injury and Madasani was released from hospital -- social media posts from desis, the Indian diaspora primarily in the U.S., have erupted with anxieties about what appears to be a resurgence of racism in the U.S. in the backdrop of U.S. President Donald Trump’s election. It is as if these desis have woken up publicly to the hatred they find around themselves in the postTrump U.S. The anxiety generated by the attack is compounded by anxieties about the status of H1B visas. Some of these anxieties are assuaged by the fervently held belief in the muscular power of the Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, to work miracles. Then there is also the hope that Mr. Donald Trump would hold to his professed love for “The Hindu.” The desi ideology, emboldened in its “model minority” status in the US, has strong faith in the Aryan nation imaginary, finding solace in the promise of the American

dream. The desi sees himself as a natural appendage to the U.S., earning his well-justified wealth through his gifted intellect and the ethic of hard work. He considers himself as distinct from the “Mexican wetbacks that come to the U.S. illegally.” He reasons, “Indians run Silicon Valley, and make up most of the doctors and engineers in the US.” The desi sees himself as above the everyday American. Moreover, as a natural extension of the US, he regales in his presumed be/ longing. In his racist worldview, African Americans are “kallus” (derogatory reference anchored in skin color), stereotypically constructed as prone to drugs, violence, and gangs. Of course, he also looks down on the “Red necks” and the “uneducated Whites.” He is on board with the U.S. efforts to curb illegal migration. After all, these illegals bring drugs, crime, and gangs. These draconian measures have nothing to do with his presumably protected status. This desi faith in his “model minority” destiny, however, is challenged by everyday experiences of racism. The desi ideology files these experiences

into private dining room conversations over weekend desi gettogethers. This or that story of American racism is shared over dinner, giving color to mundane exchanges about airfares, Ivy League admissions, and children’s grades. The response to racism is thus turned parochial, limited in the realm of private conversations. The desi, having professionally and economically reached the markers of success, lives privately with the cognitive dissonance of the everyday racisms experienced amid Whiteness. To this assault on the self, the desi ideology responds with a fervent desire for a re-born India, punctuated in the seductive appeal of the “Hindu Rashtra.” The desi rallies behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bold propaganda, “Make in India,” seeing in Modi the promises of accelerated liberalization. Modi’s muscle power is the muchneeded authoritarianism for the desis model of development. When PM Modi visits US, his rally held at Madison Square Garden is staged as a rock concert, to announce to the US and to the world that desis have arrived.

Many of these desis volunteer to rally for PM Modi’s social media campaign online, actively spreading the rhetoric of hate. Their tech-savviness comes in handy for building a viral propaganda of hate on twitter. Desis double up as twitter and Facebook trolls, ready to avenge Mother India and her dignity. Abusing opposing ideas, desis are exhilarated with patriotism, often trolling Indians questioning Modi and his policies. Defending the “Hindu Rashtra” online is how they give back to Mother India, fulfilling their duties to the nation. Others take sabbaticals from their jobs to volunteer for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s face-to-face campaign. Desis are white inside, brown outside. All the while living in desi bubbles, disconnected from the lifeworld of the local community. This desi Whiteness rallies behind the Hindutva brigade’s hatred for India’s Muslim minorities. The propaganda of the “Hindu Rashtra” that will return India to her Hindu glory finds its digital warriors in the desis. The desi fervor of patriotism, expressed from the US, regains the sense of giving back through its everyday participation in - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

the digital politics of hate. The desi keeps up with his daily dose of hate-filled news, religiously tuning into the Newshour with the hate-churning Arnab Goswami. The transnational parochialisms of desis unfortunately reproduce the cycle of hatred that desis are being subjected to recently, as if to complete some karmic cycle. To break this karmic cycle would mean for desis to step out of our desi ghettos and actually start connecting with the communities we live in, and aligning with the politics of communities of color as they work in solidarity to resist a racist regime in the US. Just as we feel anxiety about the attacks on Indians, this is also the moment for us to rise in support for the targeted attacks on Mexicans in the US, Muslims, native Americans, women, and LGBTQ communities. Progressive desi groups organizing on the ground across the US offer much hope for this kind of solidarities for change. (Mohan J. Dutta is Provost’s Chair Professor of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore) —Source: The Citizen (Heading changed)



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Polls 2017: Polarisation & promises subdued demonetization

By Kamal Mitra Chenoy


EW DELHI: The massive victory of the BJP+ in UP, Uttarakhand, and a vastly improved performance in Manipur, along with a decline but not rout in Goa, overshadowed in just the landslide in Punjab in favour of the Congress, has come as a shock to many. The facts speak for themselves. Out of 403 seats in UP, the BJP garnered a staggering 312 seats, an increase of 265 seats, while the SP got only 47 (-177), BSP 19(61) and Congress 7(-21). This could not have happened without the Sangh parivars sustained campaign on the ground from 2014. First, social engineering. The BJP consolidated the non-Yadav OBC vote and made inroads into the Dalit vote, while further consolidating the upper caste, especially the Brahmin vote. It turned the potential threat of demonetisation, as an attack on the affluent and their big money hoards. Note ban was portrayed as a temporary problem leading to more cash support later. The polarisation strategy that the RSS has honed over decades, was

staggeringly successful, raising questions about the Election Commission's capacity to curb communal and divisive propaganda to ensure a democratic election. The Congress was gravely mistaken yet again. Its grandiose demand for 105 seats at the cost of the RLD and other minor parties and communities boomeranged, ending with a paltry 7 seats. Obviously, the Congress had no idea of the realities on the ground, and the SP and others paid for it. Apart from the infructuous alliance, this election shows that caste arithmetic is quite insufficient. Class, gender, regional and economic issues are increasingly important. The secular forces failed to give enough attention to these pressing issues. They had to pay for it, with Mayawati's BSP crumbling to 19 (-61). Roadshows are not more than a show unless backing by consistent work on the ground. Here the sangh parivar was far ahead. In Uttarakhand, the flow of Congress rebels led to a rout with BJP getting 57 (+26) seats and Congress only 11 (-21) seats. The former CM Harish Rawat lost both his seats. But the writing was on the wall. Punjab was the

Congress's main success. Under its veteran and highly respected former CM Amarinder Singh it swept to 77 (+31) seats out of 117 seats, with AAP far behind with 20 (20+) seats and the Akali Dal-BJP alliance crumbling to the antiincumbency wave getting just 18 seats (-50). AAP's inaugural performance was disappointing 20 (+20) seats, but expected. With some 30 experienced cadres including 2 MPs breaking from AAP on organisational and personal issues well prior to the elections, AAP was on the back foot, but did not realise the deep waters it was in. The strange decision not to field a CM candidate against a highly respected Captain Amarinder Singh, also boomeranged. In the two small states Goa and Manipur, the Congress its tally to 17 (+8) with the BJP dropping sharply to 13(-8) seats out of a total of 40 seats, including 10 others who are independents/regional parties. In Manipur despite the anti-incumbency wave the Congress got 28 seats (-14) while the BJP opened its account with 21 seats out of the total of 60 seats including independents and others accounting for 11 seats. Given the notorious

proclivity of Manipuri politicians to be in parties in the Union government, the BJP by hook or crook, may well form the government. What does all this mean? The RSS/BJP cyclone was based on a far superior strategy than the rival parties. It's Hindu nationalist colours were considerably enhanced by pro-poor campaign promises and its creative spin on demonetisation as anti-rich with substantial benefits to come. More seriously, the BJP and allies will be able to get measures including Constitutional measures through with its tally in the Rajya Sabha increasing sufficiently. It will strive to weaken and decimate the secular opposition and forces. It will be all but impossible to stop in 2019. Omar Abdullah was right in saying that there would be a huge challenge for the secular forces in 2024. It is increasingly evident that big capital which also controls the media, is backing PM Modi. This is not for altruistic motives but to push its programme, including privatisation. As the pro-poor rhetoric begins to be unequally backed by pro-poor policies, the ambitions of big capital including foreign - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

capital will be realised. The capitalists will support pro-capitalist parties and forces and try to absorb smaller capital, while also supporting programmes and Constitutional amendments including emasculation of labour laws and the like. In this quest, the neoliberal parties like the Congress will largely agree with the NDA, with most criticisms being verbal and outvoted. If the secular forces don't learn their lessons they will be in poor shape to meeting the challenge of an increasingly militant Hindu nationalist. The Left, a marginal figure in these elections, needs to do massive renovation in theory and practice if it is to play its role in facing this increasing threat. The future of the integrity, secular democratic structure and the amity among our varied peoples is at stake. When RSS/BJP leaders including the PM and Amit Shah can use acronyms like "Kasab" as the Election Commission looks on, shows how far the decline in democratic institutions has gone. As the proverb goes, "Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it." —Source: The Citizen, March 12, 2017.

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Break from everything &

enjoy the joys

By Shilpa Dhanrthia


elbourne, 25 October: Labour leader and leader of opposition in Victoria, Hon. Daniel Andrews, today announced Labour will build an, ‘Indian Precinct’ in Melbourne, if elected to govern Victoria on 29 October, when Victoria goes to polls to elect a new government. The surprise Diwali gift was announced by Hon. Daniel Andrews at the Federation Square Diwali event, organised by the Celebrate India. Melbourne: Have you ever picked up a book you read as a kid and felt some sentences leap at you? As an ardent lover of the printed word I often find myself picking up books I read aeons ago and revising sections as if I am meant to take a test. Recently I found myself thumbing through one of the most evocative narrations I have ever read – Alice in Wonderland. In today’s turbo-charged world it’s difficult to keep pace. We live in a world fed by social media that constantly inundates us with glimpses into other

people’s lives, sometimes making us feel like we don’t measure up. The hurrier I go the behinder I get - Lewis Carroll coined phrases that are as relevant today as they were in 1865 (the year the book was written). March is the month of Holi, a festival with a lot of associated mythological legends and folklore. Notable is the legend where Hiranyakshyap tried to kill his devout son Prahalad by asking his sister Holika to enter a blazing pyre with Prahalad. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

She had the boon to remain unaffected by fire yet perished while the young boy remained unscathed. Hence; Holi is celebrated as the victory of pure faith and goodness over evil. My favourite lore is the one where Krishna smears colour on Radha’s face just so they could appear to be of the same colour for once. So the festival also came to embody the spirit of love. Holi is celebrated with fervour across India and among Indians living overseas. It’s popularly known as the festival of colours and is a day spent frolicking with loved ones and eating sumptuous food. This Holi let’s get together with our loved ones. Meet friends whom we haven’t met in a while owing to our busy schedules. Spread some cheer because we all need it. This is the perfect excuse to take a break from everything and celebrate the small joys. The time to get ahead by going slower, calmer and steadier. Team Gaura wishes you all a happy and colourful Holi. May your lives be filled with good cheer and laughter. Holi Hai!


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southSouth asia times 29 Asia Times - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

South Asia Times south asia community 32 South Asia Timestimes

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THURSDAY PUNJABI Hindi............................... 5.30 am to 7 am – 97.7 FM Sydney 97.7 FM & SBS Radio 2 9 pm – 92.3 FM Tamil.................................... 8 pm to Melbourne 93.1 FM & SBS Radio 2 Sinhalese.......................... Monday & Saturday 1 1 pm to 3 am –92.3 FM Punjabi............................. 9 pm to 10 pm – 93.1 FM 9-10 PM SINHALESE FRIDAY Sydney 97.7 FM & SBS Radio 2 Indian.................................. .8 am to 92am – 88.3 FM Melbourne 93.1 FM & SBS Radio Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri

11AM-12 PM SATURDAY Sinhalese............................7 am to 8 am – 92.3 FM TAMIL TSydney amil..................................... 12-12.30 97.7 FM & SBS Radio 2 pm – 88.3 FM Indian.................................... 5 am to 62am - 92.3 FM Melbourne 93.1 FM & SBS Radio Sun, Mon, Wed, Sat Punjabi.......................................... 12-2 am – 92.3 FM 8-9 PM Indian................................ 9 pm to 10 pm – 92.3 FM Punjabi.................................................. 11 pm to 1 am urdu Sydney 97.7 FM & SBS Radio24/7 2 Radio stations Melbourne FM & SBS Radio (Subscription) 2 Indian Link93.1 Radio Wednesday & Sunday 18000 15 8 47 6-7 PM Radio Santa Banta (Internet) WORLD NEWS AUSTRALIA RADIO SydneyJhankar 1107AM88.6 & SBSFM; Radio 1 Thursday; 8 to Radio Every Melbourne 1224AM & SBS Radio 1 10 pm; Contact: 94668900 or 0411247320 or Monday & Friday 9404 2111 6-7 am & 6-7 PM


PLACES OF WORSHIP HINDU Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple 57 Boundary Rd, Carrum Downs, Melbourne, Vic 3201, Ph: 03 9782 0878; Fax: 03 9782 0001 Website: Sri Vakratunda Vinayaka Temple 1292 - 1294, The Mountain Highway, The Basin, Vic 3154, Ph: 03 9792 1835 Melbourne Murugan Temple 17-19 Knight Ave., Sunshine VIC 3020 Ph: 03 9310 9026 Durga Temple (Durga Bhajan Mandali) Neales Road, Rockbank, Vic 3335 Ph: 03 9747 1628 or Mobile: 0401 333 738 Hare Krishna (ISKCON) Temple 197 Danks Street, Middle Park Vic 3206 Ph: (03) 9699 5122 Email: Hare Krishna New Nandagram Rural Community Oak Hill, Dean’s Marsh Rd., Bambra VIC 3241, Ph: (052) 887383 Fax: (052) 887309 Kundrathu Kumaran Temple 139 Gray Court, ROCKBANK Victoria 3335 Ph: 03-9747 1135 or M: 0450 979 023


SHEPPARTON Gurdwara Sahib Shepparton 240 Doyles Road, Shepparton VICTORIA 3603 PH: (03) 5821 9309

JAIN Melbourne Shwetambar Jain Sangh Inc 3 Rice Street, Moorabbin, Vic - 3189, Australia. Phone: +61 3 9555 2439

Melbourne West Mosque 66-68 Jeffcott Street, Melbourne Ph: 03 9328 2067

Indian Consulate Address: 344, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia P.O. Box No: 33247 Domain LPO Vic 3004 Consular Enquiries: +61-3-9682 5800 (9.30am-12.30noon only) General Enquiries (other than Consular): +61-3- 9682 7836 Fax No:+ 61-3- 9696 8251 Email: Web site:

Broadmeadows Mosque 45-55 King Street, Broadmeadows Ph 03 9359 0054 Islamic Call Society 19 Michael Street, Brunswick Ph: 03 9387 7100 Islamic Centre of Australia 660 Sydney Road, Brunswick Ph 03 9385 8423

Indian Consulate Consular services are handled by VFS Global Visa / Passport / PCC / IDLV / PIO / OCI services contact VFS +61 2 8223 9909. Address: Part 4 Suite, Level 12, 55 Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Site :

Australian Islamic Cultural Centre 46-48 Mason Street, Campbellfield Ph: 03 9309 7605 Coburg ISNA Mosque 995 Sydney Road, Coburg North

Services handled by Indian Consulate Melbourne itself: OCI Misc. services, Registration of Birth, Birth Certificate, Renunciation of Indian Citizenship, Surrender of Indian Passport, New Passport Details on PIO, Transfer of Valid Visas, Marriage Certificate, Affidavit for Applying Child’s Passport in India, Documents Attestation.)

Coburg Mosque (Fatih Mosque) 31 Nicholson Street, Coburg Ph 03 9386 5324 Deer Park Mosque 283 Station Road, Deer Park Ph 03 9310 8811 United Migrant Muslim Assn. 72 George Road, Doncaster Ph 03 9842 6491, Footscray West Mosque 294 Essex Street, Footscray


Heidelberg Mosque Corner Lloyd & Elloits Streets, West Heidelberg

CRAIGIEBURN Sri Guru Singh Sabha 344 Hume Highway, Craigieburn VICTORIA 3164 (see map), Ph: (03) 9305 6511 KEYSBOROUGH Gurdwara Sri Guru Granth Sahib 198 -206 Perry Road, Keysborough VICTORIA 3073 (see map) LYNBROOK Nanaksar Taath, 430 Evans Road, Lynbrook VICTORIA 3975, (03) 9799 1081 HOPPERS CROSSING Sri Guru Nanak Satsang Sabha 417 Sayers Road, Hoppers Crossing VICTORIA 3029, Ph: (03) 9749 2639 WERRIBEE Gurdwara Sahib Werribee 560 Davis Road, Tarneit VICTORIA 3029 PH: (03) 8015 4707

Gas escape........................................... 132 771 Poisons information........................ 13 11 26 Maternal and Child Line................ 13 22 29 Parentline........................................... 13 22 89 Kids Help Line......................... 1800 551 800 Lifeline (provides confidential telephone counselling)................. 13 11 14 Suicide Help Line.................... 1300 651 251 Animal Emergencies.................. 9224 2222



Sankat Mochan Temple 1289 A North Road. Huntingdale Morning: 10.30 am – 12.30 pm daily Evening: 4:30 pm – 8.00 pm daily Site: http: Contact: 0427 274 462

BLACKBURN Sri Guru Nanak Satsang Sabha 127 Whitehorse Road, Blackburn VICTORIA 3130, Ph: (03) 9894 1800

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Glenroy Musala 1st Floor, 92 Wheatsheaf Road, Glenroy

Islamic College of Victoria (Mosque) 201 Sayers Road, Hoppers Crossing Ph 03 9369 6010 Huntingdale Mosque 320-324 Huntingdale Road, Huntingdale Ph 03 9543 8037 Al Nur Mosque 34-36 Studley Street, Maidstone


Meadow Heights Mosque Hudson Circuit, Meadow Heights

4 Timbarra Crescent, O’Malley ACT 2606 (Australia), Tel: 61-2-62901676, 61-2-62901676, 62902769, 62901879 & 62901031, Fax: 61-262901073 Email: parepcanberra@internode., Postal Address: PO Box 684, Mawson ACT 2607 (Australia)

Springvale Mosque 68 Garnworthy Street, Springvale

EMERGENCY CONTACTS EMERGENCY CONTACTS Police, Fire & Abulance ........................ Victoria State Emergency Service (SES)....................................... Traffic hazards and freeway conditions..........................

Student Welfare Officer in the Indian Consulate Melbourne Consulate General of India, Melbourne Address: 344, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC – 3000 Phone: 03-96826203 Fax: 03-96968251 Email: Website: www.cgimelb.orgExternal website that opens in a new window Contact person for Students welfare: Mr. Nirmal K. Chawdhary Designation: Deputy Consul General Mobile: 0430020828

000 132 500 13 11 70 - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

Sri Lanka Consulate 32A Brunswick Street ,Walkerville 5081 Melbourne , Phone: 9898-6760, 9248-1228 Email:

southSouth asia times 33 Asia Times

quick community guide


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South Asia Times

contd from previous page Bangladesh High Commission, Canberra 43, Culgoa Circuit, O’Malley, ACT-2606 Canberra, Australia, Ph: (61-2) 6290-0511, (61-2) 6290-0522, (61-2)6290-0533 (Auto hunting). Fax : (61-2) 6290-0544 E-Mail

Consulate of Nepal, Melbourne Email: Level 7, 28-32 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Ph: (03) 9650 8338 Email:

TV GUIDE SBS1 – Daily NDTV News - 11:05 am - Monday to Saturday. (From New Delhi, India). Urdu news SBS1 - PTV News – 9.30 am - Every Sunday – (From Pakistan).

SOUTH ASIAN Garments Roshan’s Fashions 68-71 Foster Street, Dandenong, Vic 3175 Ph: (03) 9792 5688 Raj Rani Creations 83-A Foster Street, Dandenong, Vic 3175 Ph: (03) 9794 9398 desi estyle 76 Foster St., Dandenong 3175 (03) 87744853; 0413707685 Heritage India 54-56 Foster Street, Dandenong, Vic 3175, Ph: (03) 9791 9227 Site:

DVDs, Music CDs & Film Stuff Baba Home Entertainment 52C Foster St., Dandenong 3175, (03) 97067252

Travel Agents Gaura Travels 1300 FLY INDIA or 1300 359 463 Travel House 284 Clayton Road, Clayton 3168 Ph: (03) 95435123, Mobile: 0425803071


MLG Lawyers Ronny Randhawa 144 Sydney Road, Coburg Vic Ph 9386 0204 & 138 Walker Street, Dandenong Vic Ph: 9793 9917 Mobile : 0402 256 712 Vera Lawyers Kusum Vaghela Level 1, Suite 2, 373 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong Vic, Mobile: 0433 827 124

Jewellery Bhadra Laxman Jewellers 22ct Gold Jewellery / Silver Pooja (03) 9846 7661

Ecotech merges with French giant ACOEM


elbourne, Australia, 23 February: Ecotech (AUD 33 million revenue, 220 employees) announces its merger with French group ACOEM (AUD 86 million revenue, 450 employees). The merger brings together proven innovators in science and engineering who share a vision to improve environmental, productivity and regulatory outcomes for government agencies, industries and communities around the world. Robert and Judy Dal Sasso, who founded Ecotech more than 40 years ago, recognise the possibilities this merger brings to all Ecotech stakeholders and are delighted to sell their shareholding to ACOEM (pronounced ak-coem). Nicholas Dal Sasso, Ecotech Managing Director, will continue in his leadership role and retain his shareholding in the Ecotech Group. The deal will see both Ecotech and their customers benefit from a diversified product portfolio and accelerated distribution and access into new markets and industries.

Environmental Impact Reduction World Leader in the Making Ecotech is a privately-owned Australian company who are global leaders in the design, manufacture, operation and maintenance of air, water, gas, meteorology, blast and dust monitoring systems. Today, the Ecotech Group has a global footprint across 80 countries; world-class manufacturing facilities in India and Australia certified to ISO 9001 Quality Management standard; operates and manages over 440 real-time environmental monitoring sites worldwide, every day; employing some 220 people across Oceania and the Southeast Asia. The ACOEM Group is headquartered in Lyon, France and offer products and services that prevent noise and vibration pollution, improve air quality, and increase the productivity and reliability of industrial machines to help companies and public authorities reduce their environmental impact. A privatelyowned global leader with a development strategy that seeks to make ACOEM Group the worldwide leader in environmental impact reduction, since 2011 ACOEM has brought together Ecotech and five like-minded synergistic companies with a combined annual revenue of now more than $119m AUD (86 m) and 670 employees worldwide. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

Measurement, Analysis, and Control of all Types of Environmental Parameters “The extensive expertise Ecotech possesses in air quality complements our well-established know-how in acoustics and vibration, making the ACOEM Group the world’s first company to position itself in the measurement, analysis, and control of all types of environmental parameters,” says Fabien Condemine, ACOEM Group CEO. “Our merger with Ecotech also enables us to speed up our international growth, notably by opening markets in Australia, India, and Southeast Asia." Nicholas Dal Sasso, Ecotech Managing Director said, “With an increasingly volatile global environment, we are seeing a growing sense of urgency and need for high quality environmental monitoring solutions, particularly in China and India. The merger fast-tracks Ecotech’s ability to provide a broader range of monitoring solutions in existing markets and meet growing customer needs in new ones. For example, noise monitoring, which is an established part the ACOEM suite of monitoring technologies, will complement and enhance Ecotech’s capacity to find innovative system solutions to environmental monitoring problems.” More Than Just Environmental Monitoring Offering more than just environmental monitoring, Ecotech is also NATA accredited for compliance with ISO/IEC 17025 for a range of testing services including continuous monitoring of ambient air, meteorological monitoring, blast monitoring, as well as industrial emissions (CEMS) monitoring and water quality. Ecotech is also one of only a few companies in the southern hemisphere to also hold NATA accreditation for the calibration of wind, solar radiation, ambient temperature and humidity sensors and ozone analysers. “The successful merger of Ecotech and ACOEM provides all stakeholders (staff, customers and distributors alike) new opportunities for accelerated growth, in turn, providing a promising future for us all,” concluded Nicholas. —Supplied.

south asia 34 South Asia Timestimes



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Footwear companies breaching labour laws M By Neeraj Nanda

arch 9 2017 (IPS/Arbetet Global) Low wages, precarious employment, and lots of overtime. A recent report from the EU project” Change Your Shoes” show that Indonesian subcontractors for several European footwear companies, including Ecco and Deichmann, are not in compliance with the law. Employees within the Indonesian footwear industry have difficulties in organizing themselves in trade unions in order to demand their rights concerning wage levels and work hours. This is due to the precarious nature of employment with temporary hiring and contracts without standard protections. In 2015 Indonesia was the fourth largest producer of shoes in the world after China, India and Vietnam. Around one billion pairs of shoes are produced annually in Indonesia, which is 5 per cent of the total global production. The Change your Shoes campaign is a partnership between 18 European and Asian NGOs. Their recent report No Excuses for Homework is based on interviews with 117 laborers at four factories, and 37 homeworkers. Of the four factories, three are contractors and one is a subcontractor to the European footwear industry. The situation is worst at the subcontractor for the Danish Ecco, factory PT Prima Dinamaka Sentosa. But the German chain Deichmann is also

mentioned repeatedly in the report. These two companies state that they have good supervision of their supply chain. But when you dig below the surface into these chains, that supervision fails, says Charlie Aronsson, project manager and assistant head of administation at Fairaction, one of the networked partners of the Change your Shoes campaign. In the interviews with factory workers, employment conditions were described. At Ecco’s subcontractor it was expected that each laborer works three to four hours overtime every day. Søren Kragh Pedersen, Head of External Communication at Ecco, says the company is surprised to see what is stated in the report about the working conditions at the factory PT Prima Dinamika Sentosa. “The conditions described at this factory does not correspond with what

Ecco auditors found when checking the conditions at the factory in 2015 for the about 50 persons, who work with the production of some minor shoe components”, Mr Pedersen writes in an email to Arbetet Global. Ecco emphasize it runs its production and business in general in accordance with its Code of Conduct. “In relation to PT Prima Dinamika Sentosa, Ecco has only had access to the part of the factory where a small group of workers were producing components for Ecco, and is thus not familiar with the details in relation to the employment facts related to the rest of the about 2000 persons working in this factory.” Mr Pedersen also adds: ”Ecco has for some time phased out the cooperation with PT Prima Dinamika Sentosa and from the end of this month the cooperation ends, so Ecco is no longer fully up to date on facts related to this factory.” At one of Deichmann’s

subcontractors, labor contracts were limited to six months of employment at which time the laborer would have to re-apply for the job, despite the fact that temporary contracts are only permitted for short time periods according to Indonesian law. Employees at three factories also claim that the wages they earn do not even cover their costs for basic needs. – There is a continuing problem with these companies’ sustainability work as they still do not seek out where the risks are greatest but rather choose to only look at the nearest link in the supply chain. It is an outdated method. You need to make a proper analysis of risks to see where the problems are most prevalent, says Charlie Aronsson at Fairaction. In a statement to Arbetet Global, Deichmann, who have over 20 stores in Sweden, state that they have responded to allegations by reviewing all terms of contract for the laborers - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

at subcontractor PT Mekar Abadi Sentosa. ”It’s fixed-term contracts are now in line with the pertinent statutes. And it has also much reduced it’s staff’s overtime.” Deichmann add that they have made their own visits at the factory on several occasions, sometimes unannounced. ”We always seek continuous improvement in cooperation with our suppliers. As far as we can tell, this benefits the entire industry’s standards in the respective country of origin. Our work is based upon our Code of Conduct, which, in turn, is based upon the ILO’s conditions of work and employment.” Charlie Aronsson points to the much lower degree of transparency in the global footwear industry compared to that of other sections of the fashion industry, and also that it is difficult to place all ethical responsibilities on consumer behavior He does though suggest shoppers to ask ‘stupid’ questions to employees in the footwear industry as well as shoe store staff. Without consumer pressure, unfortunately, nothing will happen. There are though companies that are more transparent, and can show where their shoes are made. For example, Eurosko are the only Scandinavian chain that have made their list of suppliers available on their homepage. This is something we are encouraging more chains to do. —This story was originally published by Arbetet Global



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southSouth asia times 35 Asia Times

Lipstick Waale Sapne directed by Alankrita Shrivastava; Country: India; Original Title: Lipstick Waale Sapne Running Time: 116min; Film Year: 2016; Category: Soiree Series


loriously audacious in its presentation of Indian women in all their complexity and sexuality, Alankrita Shrivastava’s highspirited—and sometimes hilarious—second feature tracks its four heroines as they seek liberation

from oppressive gender codes. A young mother and secret saleswoman; a college student hiding her partying from her parents; a beautician who enjoys a healthy sex life with her boyfriend yet is condemned to a limpid arranged marriage; an older woman whose addiction to

erotic fiction threatens to spill over into real life: the ladies in Lipstick Under My Burkha are each of them bursting with ideas and appetites that no social order can crush. Source: Miami Film Festival - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

south asia 36 South Asia Timestimes



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The boogeyman called female sexuality

In the 19th century, it was ‘discovered’ that women have orgasms too. Until then, and even after that, this possibility seemed unfathomable to many. Since then it has been scientifically studied and proven too, that women have normal sexual urges, needs, and yes, orgasms too. Two centuries later, we are back to where we started!

Alankrita Shrivastava By Maitreyee Shukla


lankrita Shrivastava’s movie “Lipstick Under My Burkha” has won several accolades since it was premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival, including the Audience Award for best film. As the title suggests, the protagonists in this movie are Muslim women. This in itself is a pretty progressive move for an industry which barely represents Muslim women in any capacity, let alone lead roles. What adds to the charm is that this movie is about these women trying to find freedom from their social confinements; which includes sexual freedom. However, for being “too lady oriented” and “a bit sensitive towards a section of the society”, CBFC found it unfit for certification. Question arises, what is it about female sexuality that scares us? As Alankrita puts it so eloquently in her article, it challenges the status quo. ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ snatches from men their

plaything and gives it a life of her own. This is more than what the brittle male ego can handle. After an overflow of criticism, Pahlaj Nihlani has defended himself by saying that it wasn’t his decision to make and that the movie hasn’t been banned, simply denied certification on ‘valid grounds’. Mr Nihlani questioned the film’s politics saying, ‘It has become fashionable to support any film that talks about women empowerment. How genuine is the film’s feminism?’ While I agree that he is not directly responsible for this whole fiasco, his statement reeks of sexism, and reflects clearly that patriarchy is so deeply ingrained that people in responsible positions are unable to get rid of their prejudices before making a decision which calls for an unbiased outlook. It is definitely not about the innuendos and sex, if it was, movies like ‘Mastizaade’ would be denied certification too!

CBFC is being so blatantly hypocritical here that it is outrageous and hilarious at the same time. Women empowerment is a real, critical issue. This movie is an important step in India’s feminist movement, and here is what Pahlaj Nihlani has to say about it: ‘We’ve no objections to women wearing lipstick under a burkha. But the film shows these women doing unmentionable things. If some sections think this is a progressive behavior, gender equality and women’s empowerment then I pity the generations to come.” Sir, art imitates life. Women actually do those ‘unmentionable things’. Yes, it is empowerment that we can control our bodies. It is gender equality that we have a say in what ‘unmentionable things’ are done to our bodies. It is progressive that we are not treated as an object. That

is the whole point of the movie! But, of course, patriarchs like Mr. Nihlani will get that only if they were able to recognize their own privilege. The fact that he himself has made movies full of cheap innuendos and gotten away with it simply because the characters were men seems to be lost upon him. While a lot has been said about this movie being ‘lady oriented’ we seem to be forgetting the second part. About the particular community this movie can hurt. Muslim leader have already called for boycotts and a blanket ban on this movie. There hasn’t been much outrage, no one has yet come up with a fatwa, but that may be because the CBFC already took precautions as to not hurt the sentiments of the Islamic orthodoxy, a step which has been applauded by several sections of the Muslim clergy, such as Mr. Ausaf Shameeri Khurram, chairman of The All India - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

Muslim Tehwar Committee. It is heartening to see the Hindu right taking care of the Islamic right, but civil code trumps religious code and freedom of speech includes the right to offend. Muslim women have a right to don a Burkha, it is also their right to take it off. They can wear lipsticks under the Burkhas and they can show it off too. The right to study, the right to make a career, the right to choose a partner, the right to criticize Islamic, or any religious tradition, are inalienable human rights of all free beings. It is not our problem if our existence as free human beings offends you. It is high time the Indian society accepts that women are not passive sexual beings by nature, they have been conditioned to be that, and now, they are calling out your bullshit. Accept that we are taking the reins back. We wear Lipsticks under our Burkhas, deal with it. —Source: India Resists, March 6, 2017.


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southSouth asia times 37 Asia Times - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

south asia LETTER FROM SYDNEY 38 South Asia Timestimes

Air India bashing has no basis

By Ashok Kumar*


ydney, 1 March: Air India appears to be dragged into an unnecessary controversy over serving Halal meal to its passengers. A community organisation claiming support of other bodies wrote to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, and also the Indian High Commissioner to Australia Dr. A.M. Gondane and Indian Consulate in Sydney accusing Air India of serving Halal meals to Hindu passengers on its flights. The campaigners wanted Air India to label Hindu NonVeg meals as “Non-Halal”, in the similar pattern as “Moslem” meals state that it is “Halal”. They seem to be oblivious to the practice by businesses everywhere to label Halal food items with the word “Halal”, but use no label, on the items which are not Halal. The IST (Indian Subcontinent Times) is not aware of any airline labelling non-veg meals, which are not of Halal type as “non-Halal”. This writer spoke with many Indian Australian community members and various travel agents. All laughed it off, and said, “if it is not labelled Halal, then it means, by default, that it is non-Halal. Why there is this controversy and what’s the agenda?” They felt if the campaigners had a problem, they should have contacted the Air India offices first. Following this controversy, the Air India Public Relations Officer Mr. GP Rao told the

Times of India that they have been serving ‘Halal’ meat only when requested by a passenger. Otherwise, the non-vegetarian food was normally ‘non-Halal’. It is common sense that unless specified the meat by default is non-Halal. http:// timesofindia.indiatimes. com/city/chandigarh/ hindu-sikh-bodies-writeto-pm-on-halal-meat-in-ai/ articleshow/57134905.cms Moslems have a right to have Halal meals just as nonMoslems have a right to have non-Halal meals. Air India is actually doing a great service by providing meals catering to various distinct religious groups. It serves Hindu meal (Non-veg) HNML for Hindus, Kosher meals KSML for Jews, Jain meal JNML for Jains, Moslem meal MOML for Moslems and vegetarian meal VGML for non-meat eaters. It also has Asian Veg meal AVML for Non-Indian Asians. Many people this writer has spoken with feel that some of these groups are using Air India as a punching bag for their ill-feeling against Air India, because Air India is India’s national carrier and owned by the Government of India. The main campaigner, Mr Bawa Singh Jagdev of the National Sikh Council of Australia told SBS Punjabi that Air India is forcing the dietary preference of Muslims on all other passengers, which appears to be based on no objective evidence. Mr. Jagdev claimed endorsement of his views by various community organisations like, Hindu Council of Australia (HCA), Punjabi Council of Australia (PCA),

Sri Guru Ravi Dass Sabha, United Indian Associations, Gujarati Samaj of NSW, GOPIO and Nepalese Australian Association. Ironically, many of them denied that they ever consented to support the issue. The IST had e mailed to all organisations mentioned above. While Mr Bawa Singh Jagdev chose to attack this writer with a lengthy and irrelevant response, some others are yet to respond at the time of writing this report. Mr. Prabhjot Sandhu, an Executive Committee member of Punjabi Council of Australia said,” I, being one of the executive members can confirm that this matter was never ever discussed in the Executive Committee. Punjabi Council of Australia is a democratic organisation and all policy decisions are made with opinion of majority members. If any of our members consented to this campaign, they may have consented in general and in their individual capacity. I would urge you to ask the campaigner about evidence of support by PCA on this issue.” Mr. Rajwant Singh, another leader of Punjabi Council of Australia in his e mail wrote, “Punjabi Council of Australia has not released any such statement. We have clarified the same on SBS website. We don’t want to enter into any debate on this issue as we feel people’s eating choices are their individual choices. Anyone not sure about the food being offered should opt for vegetarian meals.” Mr. Noel Lal, Executive Vice President of GOPIO International categorically said in his e mail that “GOPIO

is not supporting this (campaign).” He confirmed that he received an email from Mr Jagdev, but did not see any merit in this and refused to support. Former GOPIO member, Ms. Lucky Singh, who is with another faction of GOPIO denied to have given consent for inclusion of GOPIO’s name in the Halal meals controversy. In her email to this office, she said,” I have nothing to do with the GOPIO as I’m not a member of this organisation for the last 4 years. So the question doesn’t arise of giving any consent to anyone.” Many in the Indian Australian community feel that there is an attempt to give communal colour to the whole controversy. They feel it is a totally unwarranted controversy, based on no facts or basis. President of Federation of Indian Associations of NSW and Sydney Cardiologist, Dr Yadu Singh said in his blog that these allegations have been levelled for cheap publicity. “Where does it say that Hindu non-veg or general non-veg meal in Air India has Halal meat?” “I travelled with Air India recently and enquired about it as a matter of curiosity. My meal was of my preferred non-Halal type. Air India does serve Halal food to those who request it (like other airlines), and there is nothing wrong in it, but does not thrust it on the throats of anybody else,” he said in a statement. SBS Punjabi quoted him “I have spoken with the main campaigner, and I have direct knowledge that some of the - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082


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associations quoted in the article have not even agreed to have their names there. Their names were added to give the campaign a serious look.” The IST sent several email reminders to Hindu Council of Australia (Dr Nihal Agar, Mr Sanjiv Bhakri, Mr Ashwani Sharma, Mr Bhagwat Chauhan), United Indian Associations (John Kennedy, Jaydatt Nayak, Dr Nagamma Prakash, Ms Sue Advani, Mr Suresh Gowda, Mr Sunil Ranadive), Gujarati Samaj of NSW (Mr Jaydatt Nayak) and others, seeking their response to following questions, but no response has yet arrived. The IST has been contacted by community members expressing their annoyance and concerns against groups like UIA, Gujarati Samaj of NSW, Nepalese Australian Association and Hindu Council of Australia whose leaders have joined an antiAir India campaign, which appears to be a surrogate punching bag for a campaign against India, either willingly or unwillingly. *Mr. Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 36 years’ experience in various capacities in the profession. He has worked in some of the leading national dailies of India including, The Hindustan Times as a Chief Sub-editor and at the Fairfax Community Newspapers in Australia as reporter-cum sub-editor at Blacktown Sun. He had a brief stint at the University of Western Sydney as a tutor in journalism and is now the Editor of the Indian Subcontinent Times, Sydney.



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southSouth asia times 39 Asia Times

Trump’s attacks on the media a dangerous precedent: Reporters Without Borders T

he Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is concerned by President Donald Trump’s latest attacks against American media outlets accusing them of reporting “fake news”. These attacks set a dangerous precedent for the world’s press freedom predators, many of whom have had journalists imprisoned on charges like “reporting false information.” During a press conference yesterday, United States President Donald Trump attacked the press for what he deemed dishonest and hostile reporting since he took office: "we have to talk to find out what's going on, because the press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control." He proceeded to claim that recent articles in the press concerning former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russia which ultimately led to his resignation were “fake news”. However, President Trump insisted that the real story that needed coverage was the leaks regarding Flynn’s ties to Russia: "Russia is fake news...the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake." Trump also singled out CNN during an exchange with White House correspondent Jim Acosta and claimed he wanted to “turn in CNN for not doing a good job.” Trump then claimed that FOX News morning show “Fox & Friends” has “the most honest morning show.” After the press conference, Trump sent the following message to his supporters, asking them to complete a survey: “You know that I don’t trust the media to report on anything we achieve. Instead, you -- the American people -- are our last line of defense against the media’s hit jobs. You are our greatest asset in helping our movement deliver the truth to the American people. Which is why I need you to take the Mainstream Media Accountability Survey to do your part to fight back

These verbal attacks on American journalists are very concerning as they come from the President of the United States, the country which is supposed to have a strong free press protected by the First Amendment, says Margaux Ewen, Advocacy and Communications Director for RSF North America.

against the media’s attacks and deceptions.” The survey asked Trump supporters to assess the “mainstream media’s performance in its coverage of Trump during the campaign and since he took office. Some of the questions asked about specific topics covered in the media: “Do you believe that the mainstream media has reported unfairly on our movement? Do you trust CNN/FOX News/ MSNBC to report fairly on Trump's presidency? Do you believe that the mainstream media does not do their due diligence fact-checking before publishing stories on

the Trump administration?” “These verbal attacks on American journalists are very concerning as they come from the President of the United States, the country which is supposed to have a strong free press protected by the First Amendment, says Margaux Ewen, Advocacy and Communications Director for RSF North America. This sends a dangerous message to the world’s most authoritarian leaders that blaming the press for publishing false information, when that information is detrimental to a leader’s reputation, is an acceptable tactic. The world’s worst press freedom predators have already

imprisoned journalists and bloggers for ‘disseminating false information’.” Just last week, RSF reported that 6 journalists in Ivory Coast were detained for several days on charges of “publishing false news” and “inciting army personnel to insubordination and rebellion.” The journalists including three newspaper editors and one publisher were arrested for reporting that bonuses were paid to members of the army’s special forces who staged a mutiny in the southeastern town of Adiaké. Though they were released on February 14, the charges against them are still pending. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

Saudi blogger and cofounder of the “Liberal Saudi Network” Raif Badawi was sentenced in 2014 to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a 10-year travel ban for “disobeying and breaking allegiance with the sovereign,” “lack of respect for the authorities,” “contempt of court,” “preparing, storing and circulating information that undermines public order,” “inciting rebellion,” and “publishing false information with the aim of harming the state”. The winner of the 2014 RSF Press Freedom Prize in the Netizen category and the European Parliament’s 2015 Sakharov Prize, Badawi has now been detained for more than four years. The United States ranks 41 out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index. —Source: Reporters Without Borders Newsletter, February 17, 2017.

south asia 40 South Asia Timestimes







Walk to CBD, Arts Precinct, Crown, shopping,trains & trams, education, dining & more. Easy access to Melbourne University and RMIT. Exclusive resident facilities - Concierge services, indoor pool, gym, landscaped BBQ area & much more... - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082


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