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Despite attacks, Indians queuing to become Australian citizens PDF Print E-mail

© Neena Bhandari, Indo Asian News Service

ImageSYDNEY, January 26 (IANS): Despite all the reports of violence against Indians, hundreds of them are becoming Australian citizens, making India the third most represented country, followed by Britain and China, for people receiving their citizenship.

Alisha D'Souza and her twin sister, Binaisha D'Souza, 19, can’t contend their excitement as they take their oath at a citizenship ceremony at Brimbank City Council, the second largest municipality in Melbourne.

“We feel privileged to have been granted citizenship and to be more a part of this multi-cultural society. It took some time to adjust, but now we call this home. Australians are very accepting of different cultures, they tend to be more laid back and love sports. Our parents felt that it would provide us with better opportunities”, Alisha, who is doing a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Melbourne University, told IANS.

In 2008-09, 9,088 Indians became Australian citizens. This year, a record 16,500 people from 144 countries are becoming Australian citizens on January 26. So have the spate of attacks on Indians and the ensuing media publicity impacted on their life?

“Neither we nor anyone we know have experienced such attacks, but these events have brought a certain degree of caution. These attacks are usually late at night and in certain notorious areas. The media doesn't show the complete picture which can lead to people getting the wrong idea”, Binaisha, who is doing Bachelor of Pharmacy at Monash University, told IANS.

For the growing number of Australian-Indians, accounting for 230,000 at the 2006 census, January 26 is the celebration of India’s Republic Day and Australia Day, which commemorates the landing in 1788 of Captain Arthur Phillip at Sydney cove and the subsequent proclamation of British sovereignty over Australia’s eastern seaboard.

Former Indian student Vishal Bhanavani from the Melbourne suburb of Essendon has aced the citizenship test, scoring 91 per cent and is excited about becoming an Australian citizen and at the same time proud of rich Indian heritage.

In Canberra, Indian High Commissioner to Australia, Sujatha Singh, unfurled the tricolour at the sprawling lawns of the mission at Yarralumla, Australia’s Chanakyapuri. She implored the community not to allow "a few bad elements" to spoil "the warmth and good feeling" which continued to exist between the two nations.

"The incidents that have taken place in recent times have troubled us all, Indians and Australians alike. They have been condemned in the strongest possible terms by all right-thinking people," the High Commissioner said.

In Sydney, Indian Consul General Amit Dasgupta hosted a reception at his suburban East Linfield residence and released an anthology of Hindi poems entitled `Boomerangs’ penned by first generation Indians in Australia.

In Melbourne, Consul General of India Anita Nayar hosted a reception for the larger Indian community at her residence in Melbroune’s Toorak suburb.

Australian-Indians are also celebrating the day at various music concerts, barbecues, and the beach on this hot and muggy summer day.

© Copyright Neena Bhandari. All rights reserved. Republication, copying or using information from any content is expressly prohibited without  the permission of the writer and the news agency through which the article is syndicated.

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