“It’s not going the right way at all. We feel scared to move around alone now — which was not the case earlier — ever since the Indian media started giving blanket coverage to such attacks,” said Yogita Garyali, who has been living here for last six years.
She said Indians are feeling a constant threat about their safety because of the Indian media going “rabid” about racism. Her friend Shiny Mehta also voiced similar concerns, saying she used to take public transport at six in the morning and as late as 11 in the night till few months back and never experienced any safety issues.
“It was pretty safe...But now I will not commute during these hours,” Shiny said, claiming that the race angle has been “forcefully fed” in the minds of locals as well as Indians here.
Another young computer engineer Amitan Naqaib said he was recently cornered by an old Australian lady in a jam-packed tram, who suddenly asked why he felt Australia was a racist country?
“I don’t think Australia is racist, it’s just a law and order situation. Indian media has hyped and exaggerated, “ Amitan felt. Many Indian parents are calling their children back after the stabbing death of 21-year old Nitin Garg made headlines in India.
Two of Garg’s friends have already decided to go back after he was killed here a week ago. Seven years back, Melbourne was rated as the world’s most livable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit. However, this year it has been ranked number three.
In other surveys also, Melbourne is no longer in the top 10, and a rise in assaults is partly to blame for it, according to media reports. On Thursday, Victorian Police, for the first time, used their new powers under which they could search anyone for weapons without a warrant and checked commuters at hot-spots, including Footscray railway station.