M A I N   N E W S

Oz cops ask Indians to ‘look poor’ to avoid attacks

Melbourne, February 7 
Victorian police chief Simon Overland has advised Indian students in Australia to keep a low profile and "try to look as poor as you can" to avoid attacks, drawing strong condemnation from the community which called his statement "ridiculous".

Indian students could make themselves less of a target if they do not display their expensive gadgets, Oliver told an international students' safety forum here yesterday. "Don't display your iPods, your valuable watch and your valuable jewellery. Try to look as poor as you can," Overland was quoted as saying by The Age. The Victorian Police Chief Commissioner said students could take some steps to protect themselves. "If you can live somewhere safer, live somewhere safer," he said. "If you can avoid public transport into the high-risk areas late at night, avoid it." Victorian Premier John Brumby defended his top cop, saying the advice to the overseas students to avoid crime, as per Overland, was a comment about the high-crime areas.

"He may have been making the point that in some areas, there are higher crime rates than in others," the Premier said. Brumby said he and the police chief condemned in the strongest possible terms "acts of violence, and particularly any violence which is racially motivated." But, the Federation of Indian Student Association (FISA) rejected Overland's remarks with its spokesperson Gautam Gupta calling the police chief's advice "ridiculous". Gupta said: “Indians need not look poor to feel safe. What is he (Overland) saying? Indians don't have the right to be rich? And if they look rich, do they may be have to get bashed? On one hand, everyone should look poor. On the other, don't live in the poor areas (where crime rate is high). I don't understand.”

Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women's Coalition Executive Director Melba Marginson said Overland was just trying to describe few strategies to avoid criminals' attention. — PTI 



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