Aussies take ‘chicken tikka’ way to protest racial attacks

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - 18:40

Melbourne: Australians, in their thousands,
ranging from a premier, law enforcement officials, to ordinary
citizens, on Wednesday sat down to a mass dining of Indian cuisine to
protest against racial attacks in a novel way.

The unique `Vindaloo against Violence` campaign proved to
be a sell out with more than 17,000 people treating themselves
to delicacies like `naan` and `tandoori chicken` in 400-Indian
restaurants simultaneously across Australia.
Many others who could not make it conveyed their
solidarity and support to the unique effort through social
networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Prominent among
them being the country`s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Victorian Premier John Brumby led the diners in Melbourne
which has a majority of nearly one lakh Indian students in
Australia who have recently been the target of a spate of
racial attacks.

Brumby joined Indian students and a few leading community
members like Primus Telecom chief Ravi Bhatia for lunch at an
Indian restaurant `Desi Dhaba` in the up-market Flinders
street.

The solidarity sentiment carried on to the Victorian
parliament, which changed its dinning hall menu to Indian
cuisine in support of the event.

The mass dining is part of `Vindaloo Against Violence`
campaign launched as a reaction to a spate of attacks against
Indians across the city and the resulting negative coverage
around the world.
Brumby said the response from Victorians to the
initiative demonstrated the community`s commitment to unite in
solidarity with the Indians and celebrate multiculturalism.

"Vindaloo against Violence initiative is a unique
opportunity for Victorian to unite and send a message that the
actions of an ignorant few will not be allowed to undermine
the reputation of Melbourne as a peaceful and friendly city,"
Brumby said.

An official statement said "this great initiative
combines the culinary reputation and uses it to send a message
that we do not accept violence against any members of our
community."

State government authorities and Victoria Police also
expressed their support by thronging Indian restaurants across
the city.

Multicultural Liaison officer and leading senior
constable Dinesh Nettur said members were keen to get involved
and show support for the Indian community.

"We believe this is a simple way for Victorians to say no
to all violence as well support our vibrant Indian community.
Nothing brings a community together like food and Melbourne is
home to some of the world`s best Indian restaurants," he said.

Nettur was joined by Acting Assistant Commissioner
(Region 1) Andrew Crisp and a dozen other Melbourne-based
police dining in Flinders Street.

The brainchild of Melbourne digital media designer Mia
Northrop, the grassroots campaign started as a humble event on
social networking site Facebook but has exploded to more than
10,000 registered participants.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - 18:40

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