Rowdy behaviour by some overseas Indian students decried

By Neena Bhandari, IANS,

Sydney : Unruly and abusive behaviour of some newly arrived overseas Indian students, mostly from Punjab, is causing much concern among the Australian-Indian community here.

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“In recent months there have been several incidents of aggressive behaviour by these students, making families scared to attend community functions,” Moninder Singh, chief executive officer of the privately-owned Australian Academy of Management & Science in suburban Quakers Hill, told IANS.

Moninder’s wife suffered a broken finger when assaulted and verbally abused by a group of students at Punjabi singer Gurdas Maan’s recent concert held at Sydney Olympic Park in suburban Homebush.

“We immediately reported the matter to the police, who charged one student with causing bodily harm. He was found to have consumed and was in possession of drugs. This kind of offensive and boorish attitude, especially towards our own women and girls, is giving the otherwise well respected Indian community a bad name,” Moninder told IANS.

At a weekend meeting held at the Australian Sikh Association in suburban Glenwood, rowdy behaviour by some overseas students was strongly condemned by Harmohan Singh Walia, President of Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Sydney North West chapter; Charanjit Singh Atwal, President Australian Sikh Association Inc.; Mahavir Arya, GOPIO Sydney Treasurer; and Ajai Unni and Kanwal Singh, representatives from the Federation of Indian Students of Australia, besides Moninder Singh.

“This form of hooliganism by overseas students has also been experienced at other community gatherings and concerts, including the Baisakhi mela. We have had complaints of students creating an unpleasant environment by shouting, abusing each other, playing loud music on mobile phones, putting their feet up on seats in local trains and public places; and driving recklessly,” Walia, who is also a member of the Australian Labour Party, told IANS.

Nearly 65,000 Indian overseas students are enrolled in various educational institutions across Australia, with the majority in Melbourne and Sydney.