Look poor to avoid attacks: Victorian top cop to Indians
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Victorian police chief Simon Overland has advised Indian students in Australia to keep a low profile and "try to look as poor as you can" to avoid attacks, drawing strong condemnation from the community which called his statement "ridiculous".
Indian students could make themselves less of a target if they do not display their expensive gadgets, Oliver told an international students' safety forum here Saturday.
"Don't display your iPods, don't display your valuable watch, don't display your valuable jewellery. Try to look as poor as you can," Overland was quoted as saying by The Age.
The Victorian police chief commissioner said students could take some steps to protect themselves. "If you can live somewhere safer, live somewhere safer," he said. "If you can avoid public transport into high-risk areas late at night, avoid it."
Victorian Premier John Brumby defended his top cop, saying the advice to the overseas students to avoid crime, as per Overland, was a comment about high crime areas. "He may have been making the point that in some areas, there are higher crime rates than in others," the Premier was quoted as saying by AAP.
Brumby said he and the police chief condemned in the strongest possible terms "acts of violence, and particularly any violence which is racially motivated".
But the Federation of Indian Student Association (FISA) rejected Overland's remarks with its spokesperson Gautam Gupta calling the police chief's advice "ridiculous."
Gupta said Indians need not look "poor" to feel safe. "What is he (Overland) saying? Indians don't have the right to be rich? And if they look rich, do they may be have to get bashed? On one hand, everyone should look poor. On the other, don't live in poor areas (where crime rate is high). I don't understand."
On Overland's remarks that taxi drivers, including Indians, had a right to feel safe no matter what their nationality was, Gupta said: "It's a work place. Every work place should be safe. I think it's a ridiculous idea. It is blaming the worker. It is blaming the victim."
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