Strong Hands of the Law
The Frontline of a newspaper circulated daily attracted my attention when I was travelling in Melbourne metro railway on 28th July. The news carried a story regarding a trial under new racial vilification laws. Three men accused of racially taunting an Indian student in a bus heading to Portsea on 2nd of February this year will be the first to face trial in court. News further quoted Premier John Brumby saying “Those laws are there, we put them in place and they are being applied”. Victoria Police said the vilification charges should send a strong message to the community that racist behaviour would not be tolerated.
This news reminded me an incident that happened with me few days back. It was out of just parking dispute that a serious matter was before Police as complaint. I was with a very close friend of mine one evening just to shop at Kmart, a shopping place in Burwood suburb of Melbourne that we faced very humiliating words full of anger and insulting tones. It was raining outside and as it was late evening, darkness was making things a little bit foggy and invisible. We just parked our car and there was a young lady full with anger shouting on us with comments pointing on our being Indians. She was not behaving normal and there is possibility of being her under effect of some intoxication. She was saying that we parked car and she was waiting other side for parking. We did not saw her car as there was another car in front of us. Rather than saying anything politely she was bent upon creating a big scene over there. In spite of all provocation we just managed to be calm and cool. We just tried to call police and noted down her car number. She went after few minute’s burst of anger and abuses on us.
As new in Melbourne, I felt really hurt like having no status in this country. As Indian I was feeling all pain that many Indians feel out of raciest incidents happened in near past. Australia is democratic country. People of many nationalities are living there for centuries. As prosperous developed country with a multicultural society, Australia ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance such as human development, quality of life, health care, life expectancy, public education, economic freedom and the protection of civil liberties and political rights. But this small incident created a big question in our mind.
The feeling of insecurity that we felt that time could have turned into hard impression on our minds if timely action of Sergeant Peter Bracken has not resolved issue with his wise and effective handling. After incident with all heavy heart we decided to lodge complaint. We went Oakleigh Police Station where we met Mr. Peter Bracken, who ultimately handled issue resulting confession from that lady about her mistake and she was made sorry for her act. Matter was resolved with right counselling by Peter Bracken.
Law still has strong arms to deal with any situation. Mr. Peter represented that strength of law in our incident and this news of trial in vilification case added a lot in people’s faith in Australian system. I am pleased to say that we are moving in right direction to make Australian a safe place to be.
(This Article was written in 2010, so dates mentioned belongs to that year.)