Thursday, January 07, 2010

Common sense advice for Indian students in Australia

India's Ministry of External Affairs has issued a personal safety advisory for students. The measures are common sense suggestions applicable to everyone (except for the last one), not just Indian students:

  • Do not travel alone late at night.

  • If you are travelling alone, make sure that you have checked out your route carefully and that you keep to well-lit, populated areas as far as possible.

  • Make sure that someone knows where you are going and at what time you are expected to return.

  • Don't carry more cash with you than what is required.

  • Do not make it obvious that you are in possession of expensive items, such as ipods or laptops.

  • Always carry some identification with you as well as details of who should be contacted in an emergency.

  • If in danger, dial 000 to get police help.

  • In case you have a complaint, get in touch with the office responsible for students welfare in the High Commission or the Consulate nearest to you.

The advisory is not totally noncontroversial, however:

The Ministry of External Affairs cautions Indian students who are planning to study in Australia that there have been several incidents of robbery and assault on Indians in Australia, particularly in Melbourne, which has seen an increase in violence on its streets in recent years, with the offenders suspected to be mainly young people in their teens and early 20s.

Government officials disagree but Victorian police are supportive:

Victoria Police yesterday said it supported the general statements made in the advisory that the city had seen an increase in violence, that this was often "accompanied by verbal abuse, fuelled by alcohol and drugs" and that the offenders were "mainly young people in their teens and early 20s".

And these boisterous young people would probably abuse me as a "f**king American" as they beat me and stole my wallet.



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