AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY AND RIGHTS GROUPS COME TOGETHER IN SOLIDARITY WITH INDIA!
The Humanism Project, Turbans4Australia, Indian Crescent Society of Australia, Hindus for Human Rights, Sydney Alliance, Sydney Community Forum and Amnesty International Australia jointly organised a vigil for India on Thursday 13th May, 2021 in Sydney, which witnessed participation of more than a hundred community members, who are deeply concerned how the current COVID 19 crisis in India has taken a horrific turn, and how the Australian government's India travel ban is discriminatory, and should be ended immediately.
Noted political and community leaders participated in the vigil. The vigil started with multi-faith prayers by - Dr Basim Alansai - Advisor to the office of Ayatollah Alansari, Mr Sajana Nand – Chairperson-Australian Hindu Multicultural Association, Reverend Father Russell Davies - Uniting Church Minister, Dibjot Singh (Sikh Prayers), and Bante Sujato, Buddhist monk (Buddhist prayers)
(Vigil Video courtesy NRI Affairs - Deepak Joshi & Vivek Asri)
The main speakers at the vigil were: ● David Shoebridge MLC ● Daniele Mookhey MLC ● Gurdeep Singh ● Amar Singh (Turbans4Australia) ● Joel MacKay (Amnesty International Australia)
David Shoebridge MLC opined: “It is so deeply distressing to the large and diverse Indian community in Australia that their family members can’t get home and that as COVID rages in India they can’t even get vaccinated.
Photo Courtesy: Naseem Khan
Amar Singh, president and founder of Turbans4Australia states, "It is appalling to see Indian Australians have been deserted by their own Government, their own home… The COVID loans the Government is offering are $2,000 which doesn’t even cover your quarantine, why isn’t it $10,000?"
Various community members shared their concern for their loved ones back in India, and how stressful, and traumatic hearing the horrifying news of people losing their life due to COVID, medical neglect, and government apathy has been. Many raised their concern and sadness for the Australians stranded in India, and criticised the government's, both in India, and Australia for their insensitive handling of the situation.
Photo Courtesy: Naseem Khan
Dr Mohamed Haroon one of the main organisers of the event sums up the event:
"To me the vigil was poignant reminder of our ethos as Indians - an ethos that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness and help us comes together as humans first to help our less fortunate fellow Indians in their courageous fight against this seemingly insurmountable pandemic. Diversity and Inclusiveness are also the CORE VALUES of The Humanism Project. We remain deeply obliged to Amnesty, the political leadership, members of the Indian Diaspora and other participating organisations for their support for the cause"
Some pics of the event by Naseem Khan:
Photos Courtesy: Naseem Khan
Logo of the groups that organised the vigil in Sydney