After the race attacks against Indians, now comes the news of colour discrimination by a bar in Australia.
Three Indian students were denied entry by the Melbourne Center Lion Hotel bar. They were among six south Asians who were turned away.
When they asked why they were not being allowed in, they were allegedly told to go to some other bar.
The students allege that the police refused to register a case.
NDTV spoke to Abhishek Aggarwal, an Indian student who was part of the group, over the phone.
“We tried to get into the bar, There were so many guys in front of us and right behind us as well in the queue. They denied us (entry), said ‘you guys can’t get in’,” Aggarwal said.
“We were not drunk, we were carrying our age proof, we were properly attired. But still they said ‘you guys can’t get in’. They didn’t give us any reason. We waited there for 10 minutes. All other guys were getting in… but we were not allowed to go inside. We called police and asked them for help. We told them this is a case of racism, because I don’t see any other reason for not letting us in,” he added.
“Police said we’ll come there as soon as possible. I got a call after 20 minutes. There was a guy from the police who said ‘What’s the issue’? Can you please elaborate’? When I explained the situation to him, he said ‘sorry sir, this is not a case of racism. There’s nothing we can do about it’,” Aggarwal said.
He said he was told by the policeman that they should go to another bar if this one was not letting them in. “I told them this is not about this bar or that particular bar. This is about my dignity, my race…It’s a case of racism.”
The incident came amid a string of attacks on Indians in Australia, mostly in Melbourne, with 21-year-old student Nitin Garg, who was stabbed to death by unidentified assailants here, becoming the first victim of such assaults this year.
Another Indian youth, Ranjodh Singh, was killed in New South Wales last month.
Nearly 100 cases of attacks on Indians were reported in Australia in 2009 as against 17 incidents of assaults in 2008.
On Wednesday, an under-construction gurudwara in south-east suburb of Melbourne was damaged in what police said was a “deliberately lit fire”, prompting an outraged Sikh community to call it “race-related” and “an attack on Indians.”
Australian authorities have been insisting that the country remained a “safe” place to live, study and work.