Indians in Oz to hold rally in support of Delhi rape victim
From Natasha Chaku
Melbourne, Dec 27 (PTI) The Indian diaspora here will hold a peaceful rally today and offer prayers for the recovery of the 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim who is now being treated at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
Many Non-resident Indians will assemble at the Indian Consulate office at 6.30 pm (local time) to pray for peace, well-being and amity and also present a memorandum to the government through the Consulate demanding actions to stop such incidents of rape and molestation across the country.
The girl was gang-raped and brutally assaulted in a moving bus on December 16 in Delhi.
The girl, battling for life for the past 10 days at Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi, remained on ventilator support during most part of her treatment in Delhi.
She was shifted to the Singapore hospital this morning where her condition remains critical.
Describing itself as a group of social networking users, the Melbourne Indians Solidarity Group said, "We feel strongly about the recent gang rape incident in Delhi and the rising cases of rape and molestation of women all over India. We condemn the recent gang rape of a medical student in Delhi and all such heinous acts of rape and molestation anywhere."
The group said it would also submit a memorandum to the Indian Consulate urging actions like improving security of women and restoring confidence in people.
"It is important that the Government of India acts in the most expeditious manner in relation to the above extremely serious situation," the memorandum would note.
Australia-India Business Council-Victoria president Ravi Bhatia said, "We urge the Indian government and state governments to initiate urgent steps to prevent rape and other crimes against women. Indian citizens and people of Indian origin can provide valuable input because of their exposure to other cultures."
Neeraj Nanda, editor of a local ethnic paper South Asia Times, said, "The Indian government should take immediate steps to curb them and take long term measures to protect women in urban and rural areas. Overseas Indians should also be consulted on any changes the Government intends to bring to penal or social laws in this matter".
An Australian graduate of Oxford University and the incoming development Fellow at Operation Asha, a Delhi-based NGO, Esmerelda Jelbart Wallbridge, has asked Australia to join the cause.
"At a time when Australia is making its largest concerted effort to strengthen bilateral ties with India and pundits are pointing to all the points of convergence (democratic values, shared love of cricket, common language, mutual gains from trade) it is important that we make a clear-eyed assessment of the status quo," she said.