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CANBERRA: Indian students in Australia are to be blamed for getting attacked - this seems to be the belief of many Indians
prospering in Australia. In a flurry of e-mails from Down Under, it is made out that the Indian students invite these vicious attacks upon themselves.
The Australia-Indian community leaders and their religious/social welfare organisations have hardly issued any strong
statements against these racist attacks.
During the recent Melbourne protest, hardly any older Australian-Indians turned up to show their solidarity with the Indian students even as the students
cried themselves hoarse demanding justice. In fact, some white Australians were seen carrying placards to support them. Reports in the Indian media
stated that these well-settled Australian-Indians do not want these events to affect their cushy life or tarnish their relations with whites.
These racial attacks have continued for the last two or three years with a growing number of them now directed at Indian
students whose numbers have swelled to about 97,000.
Did the local Indians take any individual or community action to prevent these ugly attacks? On the contrary, when the
recent spate of brutal assaults by Australian hooligans hit the headlines, they were quick to point out the reasons emanating from the students.
According to e-mails from Australia, Indian students allegedly do not know English, they display their expensive gadgets
like mobiles, laptops and iPods; play loud music, talk loudly in their native tongues, live up to 15 in rooms rented for four persons, make their
accommodation filthy, come out to their compounds in their underwear to urinate in the open and display innumerable other uncouth habits loathed by
Australians. No wonder they are attacked, say the e-mails.
Many students are frustrated when they find that their colleges are run by Australian-Indian 'crooks'. "When they go to their class, they
find that all the students are from India, and the teacher teaches them in Hindi/Punjabi. They realise that they could have received a better education
at a fraction of the cost and without the problems and pains (in India). Many of our people have opened educational institutions as on-line licensing was
so easy here. These people cheated the system by supplying false information. Now many of such colleges face closure, further putting strain on students
who have paid so much money to study there," said one such e-mail.
If the well-settled Australian-Indians have known all these problems for the last few years, what have they done to
alleviate the situation? Did they launch any orientation courses in their places of worship to 'welcome' the new Indian students every year and
explain to them the norms of the Australian way of life? Did they approach their elected representatives to press for starting these orientation courses
in India or Australia? Or, urge them to enforce additional measures at the Australian high commission in India, like an oral English test, before
granting them a student visa? Did they seek the closing down of these sub-standard 'teaching shops' run by unscrupulous Australian-Indians as
they attract unsuspecting students through their recruiting agents in India?
"Many students have committed suicide due to pressure from India and their inability to study without tuition as they
fail to follow classroom lectures," says an Indian professional in an e-mail. "They cannot get more funds from India; on the contrary, every
relative from India phones them asking: 'When will you get a job and remit money to repay your loan?' Students have been committing suicides here
and the Indian high commission would not even listen to anything nor acknowledge that there was a problem. Local Indians and students have been arranging
for the dead bodies to be sent to India."
Then the Indian media is to be blamed for highlighting these attacks and giving an unbalanced picture - never mind the fact
that most print media have published articles by Indian university professors in Australia or established leaders on this situation and TV channels aired
reports by local and 'citizen' journalists. They are pained at the reaction from India: film legend Amitabh Bachchan declining an honorary degree
from an Australian university; Indian tourists cancelling their Aussie holidays in large numbers; Indian film producers boycotting film shootings; Indian
student numbers declining this year; and perhaps, bilateral trade going down as India is the seventh biggest trade partner of Australia.
The established Australian-Indians are unwilling to accept the violent attacks by the Aussie lumpens who demand cigarettes,
money and their gadgets and then slash them with knives or pierce their skulls with screwdrivers. They would not comment until the courts decide them.
How many convictions have been reported in the last few years? They don't know. It's to do with their clothes smelling of curry, so they get
'curry-bashing', the local Indians say.
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India's parliament has been in uproar after it emerged that former president APJ Abdul Kalam was frisked before boarding a flight to the
Several MPs have condemned reports that Mr Kalam was made to wait, take off his shoes and undergo a body frisk by the staff of Continental Airlines.
Jul 22 09 8:07 AM
Aug 20 09 9:37 PM
Lalji, so you are telling me that you are proud of
Punjab, Haryana kids anaemic, undernourished
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 20
For Punjab and Haryana - the lands of plenty - it is nothing short of shame that over 80 per cent of infants in these states are anaemic, every second child is
stunted and every third child is undernourished.
The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) 2005-2006 state-wise reports made available recently, have brought out some
shocking facts about Punjab and Haryana. The survey conducted under the stewardship of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare government of India, shows
that Haryana remains the worst among its neighbouring states in taking care of its women and children while Himachal Pradesh has shown considerable improvement
in the past decade.
In Haryana almost 83 per cent infants of six months to three years, are anaemic while 80 per cent of the children in Punjab in
this age group are anaemic. This figure is about 70 per cent for Himachal Pradesh. Surprisingly in both Punjab and Haryana more than 60 per cent of the
children of educated mothers have been found to be anaemic.
In Haryana, 56 per cent women are themselves anaemic while 38 per cent women in Punjab suffer from anaemia. The reports add
that children of anaemic mothers have higher chances of being anaemic.
In Haryana, almost half (46 per cent) of children under five are stunted or too short for their age, which indicates that they
have been under-nutritioned for some time. Almost 20 per cent of the children in this age group in the state are
"wasted" or too thin for their height which generally results from inadequate recent food intake.Forty per cent children are underweight which takes
into account both chronic and acute malnutrition.
Children in rural areas are more likely than children in urban areas to be under nutrition but even in urban areas in Haryana
38 per cent children suffer from chronic under nutrition.
In Punjab, 37 per cent of the children under 5 are stunted, one in ten is wasted and almost one fourth are underweight. In
Himachal Pradesh 26 per cent of the children under three were stunted, another 18 per cent wasted and over 36 per cent underweight.
The girl child mortality is the worst in Punjab. Though the infant mortality rate in the state has gone down from 52 to 42
(per 1000 births) in the past decade, more than one in 24 children die in Punjab within the first year of life. In Haryana the infant mortality rate is down
from 57 to 42.
The child mortality rate (1-5 years) is particularly high for girls in Punjab. While 6 boys (per 1000) die before they are
five years old, as many as 16 girls die before they are five.
The bias against the girl child also shows up in the vaccination trends ascertained by the surveys. In Punjab, only 54 per
cent of girls between the age of one to two years, compared to 65 per cent boys in the same age group are fully vaccinated.
In Haryana it's the other way round. While 68 per cent of the girls were vaccinated only 63 per cent of the boys were
vaccinated. The vaccination coverage is over 80 per cent in Himachal Pradesh.
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More than half of them die the month after birth and 400,000 in their first 24 hours, The Observer said based on a report by an international NGO
'Save the Children'. Even in the national capital, Delhi, where an estimated 20 per cent of people live in slums, the infant mortality rate was
reported to have doubled in a year, it said.
"The difference between rich and poor is huge. In a city like Delhi it is more stark because we have got state-of-the-art hospitals and women giving
birth under flyovers. The health services have failed to deliver," Shireen Miller, Head policy and advocacy of the NGO in India said.
The report also revealed that the poor are disproportionately affected and accused the country of failing to provide adequate healthcare for the
impoverished majority of one billion people.
Malnutrition, neonatal diseases, diarrhoea and pneumonia were identified as the major causes of death.
"For many poor parents and their children, seeking medical help is a luxury and health services are often too far away," Miller said
The report said nearly nine million children die worldwide every year before the age of five. India has the highest number of deaths, with China on the
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