Victoria's top cop discredits 'voice' of Indian students

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Melbourne, Feb. 24 (ANI): Even as thousands across Australia participated in the 'Vindaloo Against Violence' campaign in a show of solidarity with the Indian community, Victoria's Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland has discredited the voice of Melbourne's Indian students, by saying that he has stopped listening to Gautam Gupta, a spokesperson for Indian students in the city.

"I don't think Gupta has played a very constructive role in trying to deal with this issue," quoted Overland, as saying at Melbourne's Carlton Gardens at one of hundreds of Vindaloo Against Violence events across Australia.

Over the past two years, Gautam Gupta has been a frequent commentator and spokesman for the Federation of Indian Students of Australia amid a spate of violent and racist attacks in Victoria.

The idea for 'Vindaloo Against Violence' campaign originated when Mia Northrop, 35, a digital media professional from Flemington, invited 100 friends on Facebook to dine out to support the Indian community. Soon, her idea gathered pace beyond expectations.

But Gupta criticised the campaign by saying that it would not deliver any support to real victims of crime.

Reacting to Gupta's criticism, Overland said: "Who? How many? How many have made the criticism? I've heard it from one source. I'm reluctant to respond to a broad-based question if in fact it's sourced from an individual who I don't think has played a very constructive role in this broader issue,"

Gupta said Overland had suffered an "emotional" outburst.

"Why is he singling me out? I'm really confused. I think this is a case of shoot the messenger. If you don't like the message, then shoot the messenger."

Gupta said he supported the Vindaloo protest but was simply pointing out that photo opportunities and feel-good stories don't address real problems.

"Symbolism is important and it is a good event ... but we want some action. A 10 dollar curry cannot solve the problem. We need police on the beat, we need community resources," he said. (ANI)

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