Call For Media and Government Investigation

of Sathya Sai Baba And his worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization

Posts Tagged ‘Indian students’

Sathya Sai Baba Cultist Yaani Drucker Claims Spiritual Enlightenment

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 29, 2010

It is instructive to see the cultic mind at work. Too often, it conceals itself. Yaani Drucker – the Sathya Sai Baba worshipper who publicly claims that she has now achieved Enlightenment and runs workshops that aim to put others on the same path – has again written to a former follower of Sathya Sai Baba.

Throughout her many statements, she fails to realise that, as a public figure, her advice on how to deal with rape and other traumatic experience is far from what those in crisis care regard as advisable. Yet again, in her email to Robert Priddy, her own extremely simplistic assumptions give her away. She is as careless in small matters as in great. In a relatively small matter, reminding one of her own assumption that I am a psychologist, she has just written to Robert Priddy, telling him that his Ph.D., excludes him from any expertise in commenting about matters of Enlightenment. The fact is, that Robert Priddy does not have a Ph.D., and it has been known for many decades to many colleagues that he attaches little, if any, importance t0 such titles. See Wiki reference for Robert C. Priddy’s qualifications, academic and other writings.

See:  Yaani Drucker’s hypocrisy about academic qualifications & enlightenment Posted by robertpriddy on May 27, 2010

QUOTE “Yaani evidently has no idea of how I view and define cults in accordance with world experts on this subject. She could benefit from reading about them! Her view is that only a group one cannot leave is a cult. That is very simplistic. One can even leave the most oppressive cults, but it is the harassment afterwards that is the defining quality. Such as her confidante Gerald Moreno’s constant harassment of all Sathya Sai Baba ex-cult members. The Sathya Sai cult is not as extreme in the sense that some are, not unless you are in India and confront them (Basava Premanand was burgled three times (see BBC report) and suffered attempts on his life from Sai Baba goondas (i.e. killer thugs). He was convinced from his evidence that his son and helper was murdered in a Bangalore hospital too! Numerous Indian students have been murdered at the ashrams, and also a considerable number of Westerners, while other Western visitors have ‘disappeared’ from the ashram and have never been traced. Indian ex-students in fear of their livelihoods and even their lives still write to me (for they know I can be trusted, unlike continuing devotees). But for the majority it is admittedly a very subtle kind of cult, relying on voluntary donations (after deep indoctrination). Sai Baba gives people almost worthless rings (claiming they are diamond rings), fake watches, all manner of trinkets – and he gets huger donations in return out of thankfulness – but the donors were thoroughly deceived!”

Alvin Drucker, husband of Jaani (originally just Jan) is a self-appointed prosetylizer for Sathya sai baba and condones his sexual exploits about which he knew from parents many instances, though he chose to remain silent. He has admitted this in an e.mail to the UK central Coordinator Aime Levy who was formerly  also a devotee and a good friend of Robert Priddy and wife. Interestingly Drucker is not honest either, as the following documentation shows:- Al Drucker expropriated others’ work to himself

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Further Reading

Two Articles In Response To Yaani Drucker’s Posting

“NOTHING IS REAL, STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER”
or ‘Yaani Drucker on how nothing was turned into nothing, by nobody’
by Reidun Priddy

YAANI DRUCKER & SATHYA SAI BABA’S ADVAITIC DOCTRINE
A recipe for confusion and personality disorder?
by Robert Priddy

Jaani Drucker: ‘the Ego’ misunderstood and self-nihilation

Jaani Drucker – wild claims not supported by her actions

By Barry Pittard

Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 1

Exchanges of views on how rape and sexual abuse affect the real person or whether they merely affect the body, as is held by rape victim Jaani Drucker.

Jaani Drucker continually responds to neither to the spirit or the letter of her claim that ” happy to discuss and debate issues” rather flatly rejecting all points on the ground that she knows the ultimate truth.
Jaani Drucker evades Pittard’s contention that those who have had such traumatic experiences need to reach out to an experienced, qualified profession, and that, in terms of public health outcomes, it is a dangerous undertaking to recommend a course of action which relies on faith or notions of enlightenment alone.
Pittard reminds that Jaani Drucker is very evasive on questions she promised to debate openly – instead promoting a self-enhancing narrative about spiritual realization.
Her many failures of reasoning, and her slips, slides and evasions, evident to commonsense and logic, abound here, and are dealt with
Who can distinguish between those like Jaani who claim realization? How can one get around to testing the plethora of claims? However, there is a body of clinical experience which DOES have testability in application to trauma, and this is being applied day in and day out in hospitals and clinics throughout the world.
Analyzing the belief put forth by Jaani Drucker which Pittard holds is dangerous to vulnerable survivors of rape etc. as supporting a flight into denial. Parents and mental health professionals would never agree with Drucker’s claims.
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The Public Petition

Information on the Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition):

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization  

There is a Spanish version available:  

PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL)

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Posted in New Age, Opinion, Rationalism, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Swami Nityananda Sex Scandal News Round Up

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 25, 2010

The following is a quite brief but useful selection of Indian press articles. They suffice to give a sense of the unfolding of the Swami Nityananda sex scandal. It does India’s government and justice systems no credit, nationally or internationally, that she occasionally nets in a few minnows and not the tiger sharks. 

It is a great pity that Sathya Sai Baba and his core servitors are not being held to public accountability. He is vastly more powerful and influential than Nityananda. It is an irony not missed by many Non Resident Indians (NRI’s) that, with the exception of India Today in 2000, it took foreign media such as the BBC, CBC, ABC, SBS, the Times of London, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, and newspapers in Europe, Canada, Australia, etc., to investigate and expose Sathya Sai Baba and his cult.

Moreover, these media handled the Sathya Sai Baba issue infinitely better than most of the Indian media has been handling the Nityananda issue. The violence that has broken out in this matter, as well as in many other issues, can in considerable measure be linked to the preference of many of the Indian media for the sensation-sales equations, and their lack of calm leadership. Following attacks by hoons on Indian students studying in Australia, my own country – although not without its, at the time, unaddressed police and socio-cultural responsibilities in the matter – was subject to enormous Indian media sensationalising and oversimplifying of complex issues, where significan sections of the Indian press grossly ignored a wide cross-section of Indian voices in Australia – such as Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria. This mass-circulation Indian media hysteria whip-up (like our own miserable shock-jocks on the radio) badly damaged relations between India and Australia, which responsible sectors in both countries have had to work extremely hard to repair. See my articles:

Attacks Against Indian Students in Melbourne, Australia

Attacks By Hooligans Against Foreign Students In Australia

Indian Students Attacked In Melbourne Australia: Cricket Star Brett Lee Voices Concerns

Sex Scandal: What Is Swami Nityananda Really Teaching?
 The enormous public reaction to the Nityananda case furnishes a picture that makes two issues extremely clear. The first is that blind faith in gurus down the milennia has been made a matter of wide public debate. The other is that new and better educated generations are beginning to throw off the shackles of the past.
The question that remains is whether Indian shall ever become the great democracy that she could be. The South Indian lawyer K.V. Dhananjay brings out such in a lengthy interview.  See my note, and the video links, at:
Lawyer K.V.Dhananjay on Swami Nityananda Furore In India
Posted by Barry Pittard on May 24, 2010
See Robert Priddy's recent posts on the Nityananda scandal:
Nithyananda exposed by Ranjitha – CBI say no faked film

Posted by robertpriddy on June 20, 2010

Swami Nithyananda: purification, tribulation and trial

Posted by robertpriddy on June 19, 2010

Swami Nityananda tries to defuse the sex scandal

Posted by robertpriddy on June 10, 2010

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From:  http://interceder.net/news/Swami-Nityananda

 Sudeep to anchor village-based reality show - New Kerala Sudeep to anchor village-based reality show Bangalore, May 7: Southern star Sudeep is set to make his small screen debut as the host of the Suvarna Channel's new reality show and says he is curious to see how 10 city girls will adjust to a village life.07 May 2010

	
  • Sudeep to anchor village-based reality show - Calcutta News Sudeep to anchor village-based reality show Southern star Sudeep is set to make his small screen debut as the host of the Suvarna Channel's new reality show and says he is curious to see how 10 city girls will adjust to a village life.07 May 2010
  • No respite for Swami Nityananda, bail rejected - The Times of India No respite for Swami Nityananda, bail rejected The Ramanagaram district sessions court on Thursday dismissed the bail petition filed by controversial godman Swami Nityananda.06 May 2010
  • Sex tainted godman's bail plea rejected - New Kerala Tainted godman's bail plea rejected Bangalore, May 6 : A Karnataka court Thursday rejected a bail plea of self-styled godman Swami Nityananda, in jail since April 30 for his alleged sex romp.06 May 2010
  • Sex tainted godman's bail plea rejected - Calcutta News Sex tainted godman's bail plea rejected A Karnataka court Thursday rejected a bail plea of self-styled godman Swami Nityananda, in jail since April 30 for his alleged sex romp.06 May 2010
  • The adventures of a Swami, and his friends - Express India The adventures of a Swami, and his friends His Bidadi ashram may have lost residents but there is no decline in faith for his ardent devotees. Nor have the police found enough evidence to wipe the smile off Swami Nityananda's face....06 May 2010
  • The adventures of a Swami, and his friends - Express India The adventures of a Swami, and his friends His Bidadi ashram may have lost residents but there is no decline in faith for his ardent devotees. Nor have the police found enough evidence to wipe the smile off Swami Nityanandas face....06 May 2010
  • Nityananda case: CID seeks statement from victim - Express India Nityananda case: CID seeks statement from victim One of the victims of the sex scandal case involving Swami Nityananda was in touch with police.05 May 2010
  • Verdict on bail plea of 'Nityananda' on May 6 - New KeralaVerdict on bail plea of 'Nityananda' on May 6 Ramanagaram, Karnataka, May 3 : The Sessions Court here today posted the verdict on bail application moved by tainted 'swami' Nityananda to May 6.04 May 2010
  • Tamil actress Ranjeetha takes premature retirment after Swami sex-scandal - New KeralaTamil actress Ranjeetha takes premature retirment after Swami sex-scandal Chennai, Mat 3 : South Indian actress Ranjitha, known for a sex-scandal linking her with tainted guru Swami Nityananda, has decided to quit to lead a quiet life with family in Kerala.03 May 2010
  • 13. MIC Youth wants funds for upkeep of cemeteries - The Star13. MIC Youth wants funds for upkeep of cemeteries MIC Youth has asked the Government for financial grants to help maintain Indian cemeteries.02 May 2010
  • Sex scandal in temple rocks city - The Times of India Sex scandal in temple rocks city Swami Nityananda's sex scandal may have rocked the country. Now Nagpur will wake up on Saturday to sleaze at a religious place in the city.01 May 2010
  • Nityananda sent to jail till May 12 - New Kerala Nityananda sent to jail till May 12 Bangalore, April 30: Tainted Swami Nityananda was Friday sent to jail till May 12, after being in police custody for eight days answering questions on his alleged sex-romp and other activities.30 Apr 2010
  • Nityananda sent to jail till May 12 - Calcutta News Nityananda sent to jail till May 12 Tainted Swami Nityananda was Friday sent to jail till May 12, after being in police custody for eight days answering questions on his alleged sex-romp and other activities.30 Apr 2010
  • I'm not a man, Nityananda told CID sleuths - The Times of India I'm not a man, Nityananda told CID sleuths "I'm not a man. There's no way I could have indulged in sexual activities with women. Do a potency test on me". That's the sum of Swami Nityananda's startling statements to CID sleuths.The swami's passport clearly mentions his gender as male, not transgender.29 Apr 2010
  • Tainted godman's CID custody extended again - New Kerala Tainted godman's CID custody extended again Ramanagaram, Karnataka, Apr 28 : A court in Ramanagaram today extended by two more days the CID custody of tainted Godman Swami Nityananda, who was caught in a sleaze act with a Tamil actress and also faces other charges.29 Apr 2010
  • Swami Nityananda gets to keep rudrakashamala - The Times of India Swami Nityananda gets to keep rudrakashamala The district court at Ramanagaram extended the police custody for Swami Nityananda for two more days, till Friday evening. At the same time, the court refrained from interfering with the CID sleuths' decision to take away the Rudrakshamala away from Nityananda.28 Apr 2010
  • Bangalore Sex Swami violated 'rules of tantra'? - NDTV Bangalore Sex Swami violated 'rules of tantra'? Art of Living Foundation head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in a statement has said that Bangalore's disgraced self-styled godman Swami Nithyananda violated rules of tantra.28 Apr 2010
  • Damage control? JMM says voting in cut motions 'a mistake' - Express India Damage control? JMM says voting in cut motions 'a mistake' JMM made it clear there was no move to form a government in Jharkhand with Congress backing.28 Apr 2010
  • Swami Nityananda released from hospital - New Kerala Swami Nityananda released from hospital Bangalore, April 27 : Tainted godman Swami Nityananda, who was arrested from Himachal Pradesh, was on Tuesday released from a government hospital where he was admitted with 'severe chest pain'.27 Apr 2010
  • Tainted godman's CID custody extended - New Kerala Tainted godman's CID custody extended Ramanagaram, Karnataka, Apr 26 : A court here today extended to two more days the CID custody of tainted godman Swami Nityananda, who was caught in a sleaze act with a Tamil cinema actress and faces other charges.27 Apr 2010
  • Two more days police custody for Nityananda - New Kerala Two more days police custody for Nityananda Bangalore, April 26 : Sex-scam tainted Swami Nityananda will spend two more days in Karnataka Police custody, a court ruled Monday.27 Apr 2010
  • Nityananda should have had only one partner: Ravi Shankar - New Kerala Nityananda should have had only one partner: Ravi Shankar New York, April 26 : Disgraced self-styled godman Swami Nityananda violated the rules of tantra by "using so many people for one's pleasure", Art of Living Foundation head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said Monday.27 Apr 2010
  • Nityananda’s police custody extended - Gulf Times Nityananda’s police custody extended Self-styled godman Swami Nityananda, accused of being involved in a sex scandal, will spend two more days in the custody of the Karnataka police, a court ruled yesterday.26 Apr 2010 
  • Older than 1 month …………………………………… Further Resources   By Robert Priddy Sex scandal in Indian media – Nityananda and forerunners   Swami ‘Paramahamsa’ Nityananda scandal – latest HC dismisses plea for CBI probe against Nityananda   Nityananda sex scandal compounded by his lies and deceits   Basava Premanand Tribute: Indian Exposer of Sathya Sai Baba Dies   Nityananda sex scandal compounded by his lies and deceits Nityananda video, lies and ’sex allegations’ …………………………………… By Barry Pittard  Nityananda, Sathya Sai Baba et al… Do Hindus Really Approve Sexual Immorality?  Nityananda Sex Scandal Erupts in India. Sathya Sai Baba Lessons? Nityananda Scandal. Police Seize Indicting Material. Why No Raids On Sathya Sai Baba?  Is Heat Too Much For Swami Nityananda, Under Fire By Sex Abuse Allegations? Why Nithyananda Sex Scandal Investigations and Not A Sathya Sai Baba Probe? Boy Scouts of America – Sex Abuse Revelations. Who Next? Priest Abuse. Long-denied Justice Catching Up In Australia Sexual Abuse Priests. What?! The Pope Never Knew? Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya  Sai Baba   …………………………… The Public Petition   Information on the Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization   About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult  (Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition):  Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization       There is a Spanish version available:       PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL)     ——————————————     Subscribe in  NewsGator Online Subscribe  in Bloglines Add to My AOLAdd to Excite  MIX Add Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba  to Newsburst from CNET News.com Add to  netvibes     Add to The  Free Dictionary Add to netomat Hub Add to Webwag   Subscribe in a reader     Subscribe to Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

    Posted in New Age, Opinion, Rationalism, Religion, Skeptics, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Attacks By Hooligans Against Foreign Students In Australia

    Posted by Barry Pittard on June 5, 2009

    In relation to attacks against foreign students in Australia, there are some tough questions. A number of reasons exist why the majority of these attacks have occurred on Indian students, and the issue is complex. The situations are not as portrayed, with a dangerous, irresponsible oversimplification, either by certain sections of the Indian media that are clearly committed to jingoism, hysteria, sensationalism and burgeoning of sales, who gravely misrepresent the view of a great many Indians who live in Australia (See e.g., statement by Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria president Vasan Srinivasan) or by an isolated but powerful and  disgraceful class of radio talk-back hosts who are biggots and their poorly-educated audiences we alarmingly still have in Australia, known as ‘shock jocks’.

    No amount of misrepresentation can alter the facts that most Australians do not engage in or approve of racism. Many from some 200 countries who have migrated to this country attest to this fact. The situation is not assisted by those who, whether out of sensationalism or simple-mindedness or agendas of hatred resort to the fallacy of confusing part with whole, branding the behaviour of a few a whole group, who do not think, or feel or act out that for which they are being assailed.

    However, the question of whether we in Australia are in danger of being selfish, cocooned, complacent and far too unquestioning of our ‘authorities’ and ourselves is quite another question. It was communities in the suburbs, far more than forces within governments, which won Australia’s great achievements in  forging a multicultural society. Sometimes the word ‘multiculturalism’ has been used but it can be a confusing and systematically misleading term.  The Australian experience – or experiment –  needs to be carefully distinguished from the performances of other countries, and discussed with proper regard for the facts.  One starting-point for those who wish to survey the area is the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council, which has many resources both practical and academic. The Council’s website is HERE.

    But there is a work undone: those communities especially in the outer suburbs to which many foreign students are driven by their economic constraints will have to do some of it. They will need to rise to an occasion. Or will they expect the police and other authorities to do it for them? To stand by when bones are being broken and lives destroyed does not add up to self-respect and a sense of justice within those in whose midsts violence is happening.

    I offer some questions – very preliminary – that I think my fellow Australians will need to consider:

    Why have not messages got through to increasingly bold urban hooligans that attacks on anyone are not to be tolerated?

    Why are these uneducated hooligans being permitted to sway Australia’s standing in the fellowship of nations?

    What is there about our education, justice and parental support systems that allow for the existence of hooliganism?

    What, if any, community-based, imaginative, proactive steps are being taken to make foreign students, migrants and refugees to feel welcome, valued and safe in Australia?

    If the police are engaged in a losing battle, as in other areas such as drugs, are the Federal, State and Local governments failing in being upfront and in ensuring the widest public awareness and debate?

    Why have attacks escalated to such a point where it has taken organized protests by Indian students studying in this country – and giving up their valuable time in which to raise their voices – before there is strong action directed to remediation?

    Are outer and working class suburbs embraced by the powerful ethos  in this country which has generated so many distinguished achievements in bringing about Australia’s in many ways successful multicultural society?

    What, if anything, has been the responsiveness by police, the three tiers of government, welfare, civic, religious, cultural, sporting organizations, especially in the outer suburbs to the conditions in which many overseas students are economically forced to study, travel back and forth, and reside?

    What, if any steps, have been taken to raise public awareness about the enormity of contribution foreign students make to Australia, both in immediate economic terms but in many, and often intangible ways, in regard to the quality of lasting ties of friendship and cooperation internationally?

    What, if any steps, have been taken to raise public awareness of the difficulties many overseas students face in regard to finance, language, culture, cuisine, arduous travel times back and forth between residence and place of study, the perils of landlordism, their being forced to take part-time jobs and somehow coping with demanding courses of study, and so on?

    Have the police forces examined their own assumptions? For example, how could police possibly know whether many UNreported attacks were racist or not? The notion is absurd.

    Are some police authorities refusing to see that a crime can be BOTH opportunistic AND racial?

    Many Indian students, supported by their government and by leaders in the Australian Indian community, attest that the police have not been – qualitatively – listening. Why are the police listening now, and why, in certain ways, too late? Young students at this very moment lie bloodied and broken.

    What is the accountability of those policemen police who manhandled parts of the crowd, in attendance at what the responsible media has reported as, except for rare exceptions, a peaceful protest by thousands?

    Why are the State and Federal Governments and the education institutions at which foreign students study suddenly galvanized? Why not before this?

    A question for those who cry racism at every turning: Has it been noticed that extremely few along the path of the march have been reported, on any side, as having been racist or insulting in any way?

    A Helpline for Indian students who are victims of crime is available: 1800342800. From 10am to 5pm, and 7pm to 11pm, Monday to Friday.  Hellplines for ALL foreign students need to be provided and made extensively-known through the student fraternity.

    Further Reading

    Indian Students Attacked In Melbourne Australia: Cricket Star Brett Lee Voices Concerns

    Posted by Barry Pittard on June 4, 2009

    Attacks Against Indian Students in Melbourne, Australia

    Posted by Barry Pittard on June 2, 2009

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    UPDATE

    From ‘Hindustan Times’ – which shows a sanity lacking in the sensationalists sections of the Indian media

    See article details at this Blog:

    Posted in News and Politics, Opinion, Politics, Protest, Sikhism, Social and Politics, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Indian Students Attacked In Melbourne Australia: Cricket Star Brett Lee Voices Concerns

    Posted by Barry Pittard on June 4, 2009

    Brett Lee is a prominent example of strong ties between India and Australia. It is good that someone with his credibility has stepped forward to bring calm to the situation following recent attacks on Indian students in Melbourne.

    Australia is in for a test of another kind than cricket. Our country will be tested for whether democracy and muticulturalism truly flourish, as well as respect for the well-being and physical safety of all citizens of, and guests to, our country. Along with implementing changes to policing, law, education and greater public awareness of the issues, the Federal Government and State Governments in Australia face tests in how truthful and responsive they are when there is review of their performance in approaching urban crime.

    Many have left the Sathya Sai Organization because of its pronounced lack of democracy, transparency and accountability. There has been monumental failure to address issues raised (often not publicly, and in many countries and Sai centers, by those quite other than prominent critics) such as sexual abuse of boys and young men from India and other countries by Sathya Sai Baba and certain leading members who work in his service, profound cover up of the circumstances surrounding the killings in his bedroom, massive misappropriation of donations for around the world utilized for lavish displays, property scams, and other scandals. Successive Indian Central, State and Local governments and large sections of the media have been involved in these cover ups. See below for some readings (which contain video footage from the BBC’s hour-long documentary which has been seen by millions worldwide, The Secret Swami)

    Aside from sad incidents such as “sledging” (badmouthing on the sporting field), India and Australia share a great love of cricket, and many players on both sides have done their countries proud in the spirit in which they conduct themselves both on and off the field. Many friendships have been forged. It also means that forces from the community, apart from political figures are standing forth. Unless leaders with credibility in both countries make their voices heard, discussions about the relative roles played by racism and sheer, opportunistic street thuggery looking for “soft targets” will not have a proper chance to be heard.

    I observed in my previous blog:

    ‘Racism thrives on ignorance, and on unreal social structures where persons and groups cannot get to interact with and appreciate persons and groups who are different. The locus of Australia’s achievements in multi-culturalism were not the politicians, but were staged in the Australian suburbs. They belong to the people, both older Australians and migrants, and they must not let political elites obsure or attempt top down solutions’.

    Quite apart from policing aspects, areas such as student welfare infrastructure in learning institutes where students from India and many other countries study need urgently to be looked at. There are reports that some arrangements fall far short. Not to have excellence in an area such as this amounts to false pretences, given the importance those institutions place on overseas student study. The fees are large and the duties of care enormous. There must not be a single shortfall.

    Because of the events in Melbourne, reports now surface that there have been widespread attacks in Sydney. Australia’s re-think will need to be far-reaching, and embrace all aspects of student wholistic welfare, and extend to foreign students from all countries – many of whose parents must at the moment be beside themselves with anxiety.

    In the last days, Brett Lee was involved in arrangements to have a street cricket match with Indian students. This had to be called off because of still further violence perpetrated against an Indian student. Indian students who were in favour of the match were, however, uset by the renewed outbreak and naturally in no shape, emotionally, to play.

    Unless all the facts are made plain, it will be very difficult to reconcile continuing reports of lack of foreign student safety and general wellbeing  with the statement, widely reported in the Indian media, issued via the Australian High Commission in India:  “We know through surveys of the many thousands of enrolled and graduating students that the overwhelming experience of international students is positive. This should be the outcome for every student”.

    A Helpline for Indian students who are victims of crime is available: 1800342800. From 10am to 5pm, and 7pm to 11pm, Monday to Friday.  Hellplines for ALL foreign students need to be provided and made extensively-known through the student fraternity.

    ……………………………………………..

    Excerpt from The Age, Melbourne – For full article, click on story title

    Cricket star Brett Lee voices concerns over Indian student attacks

    Vance Mikin-Laurie. June 3, 2009 – 3:56PM

    Cricket star Brett Lee voices concerns over Indian student attacks Vance Mikin-Laurie

    Cricketer Brett Lee has voiced his concerns over the attacks on Indian students in Melbourne. As the Australian team prepares for the Ashes tour of England, Lee – an ambassador for Deakin University – has moved to calm growing anger in India over the violence

    …. (Brett Lee said) “The university is doing everything it can to ensure the safety of students. Deakin will be providing advice on how to keep out of harm’s way, and also counselling for anyone who feels unsure at this time” …

    …. Both Lee and Deakin University have long-standing ties with India – Deakin was the first foreign university to open an office in India and Lee is is involved in charitable work through the Deakin India Research Institute.

    …. The cricketer’s popularity has continued to grow in India recently through the Indian Premier League and he appears heavily in Indian media through his numerous endorsement deals .

    …. A popular figure on the subcontinent, he even reached number two on the Indian singles chart in 2006 with the self-penned You’re the One For Me, a duet he performed with Bollywood star Asha Bhosle. ……………………………………………….

    See my other articles of the violence against students in Australia:

    Attacks By Hooligans Against Foreign Students In Australia

    by Barry Pittard on June 5, 2009

    Attacks Against Indian Students in Melbourne, Australia

    Posted by Barry Pittard on June 2, 2009

    Former articles with a cricket theme at: https://barrypittard.wordpress.com

    International Cricket And The Secret Swami

    Sai Baba Vs Kerry Packer

    ……………………………………………………..

    BBC Exposes Cover Ups By Sathya Sai Baba and his international Sathya Sai Organization

    Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC Telivision

    BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ and British Press Praise

    Probed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team

    The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

    BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle

    BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip)

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    Attacks Against Indian Students in Melbourne, Australia

    Posted by Barry Pittard on June 2, 2009

    There have been most shocking physical attacks against Indian students in Melbourne, Australia. Some 90, 000 Indian students now study here, second to China in the number of foreign nationals studying.  Australia intends to attract many more. They need to feel safe and respected. Yesterday’s news reported what is alleged to have been a peaceful demonstration waylaid by a small number of anti-social elements.

    In March 2009, this blog reported Channel NineMSN’s exposure of security personnel violence against protesting staff and disabled clients at SWARA (run by one of the superluminaries of the Sathya Sai sect, Moyia O’Brien) in Brisbane. Reports that suggest the Melbourne protest was derailed by over-reaction of authorities, brought back eerie reminders of those accounts which a number of those involved (including those who remain Sathya Sai Baba devotees) have given.

    In both the Brisbane case (security personnel) and the Melbourne case (police, including mounted police), violence by authorities has been seen. Irresponsible commentators see no reason why the actions of security and police should be examined. They fail to ask whether proactive, peaceful methods could have been used, instead of the violent handling of what had been organized as a peaceful protest. It is an old theme – and authorities in modern democracies cannot hide, though they try to, violent propensities. 

    (For the SWARA case, see under Reading and Viewing, below)

    As a nation, we need to decide whether we wish small numbers of louts to shopfront us to the world. More fundamentally, we have to find solutions to  danger posed by those marginalizing forces which create unemployed, dispossessed angry  young people who lurk by day and night on street corners unleashing their contempt for human life and property. Boldness and imagination can address these problems. We cannot depend on politicians to be bold and imaginative; we have to be bold and imaginative ourselves.

    Melbourne newspaper The Age yesterday reported (May 31, 2009)  Gautam Gupta, a spokesman for the Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) as saying:

    “We want a multicultural police section and we want crime statistics made public so that we know the extent of the problem,” he said.

    The protesters also wanted on-site accommodation for Indian students at all universities and colleges.

    “We want blanket cover for all international students, covering them for accidents and assaults and the government should run an ad campaign highlighting positive influence that migrants and international students have made to this country.”

               Mr Gupta blamed outsiders for the trouble outside the station, saying it was always meant to be a peaceful rally.

    “People have been angry over the past few weeks, especially the young people, but it was supposed to be a peaceful rally. Unfortunately there were some agitators there, stirring things up … They had their own agenda,” he said.

    Many Australians with experience of Indian students know of their characteristic politeness and hard-working qualities. They do credit to their country. Let me give a small, though I think iconic, example of an arrangement that could, badly handled, have gone terribly awry. Because of huge outsourcing by Australia to India of telecom handling of public enquiries and complaints, the extraordinary politeness and patience of the Indian operators have become a byword among millions in Australia.

    But something nasty is astir, though it should not deflect attention away from the fact that a great many Australians support multi-culturalism, a fact that has been strongly shown in poll after poll, including at the height of the Mrs Pauline Hanson’s deplorably simplistic political presence in the nineties. However, support is more than sentiments stated to pollsters. The real fairness and justice require that we do not pass by, and turn blind eyes, and cocoon ourselves or fail to inform ourselves. It is not by our deploring racism that our humanity will be guaged.

    At the same time, heated debate over whether the attacks were based on racism or opportunistic, soft-targeting should not be allowed to obscure the fact that all citizens and visitors alike have every right to feel safe. Politicians in Australia of all complexions have been characteristically unbold in looking for solutions to poverty.

    One question that has to be driven is this:  Are tougher sentences and proposed clauses such as ‘hatred for or prejudice against a particular group of people’, remedies that are anywhere near sufficient? The question about the extent of racism in a country may not, in the present context, be the most pressing or relevant one. Pressures in a changing society can make an issue that may be relatively isolated grow much larger. Emphasis on tough policing and judicial solutions, without a far wider suite of remedies, can ensure. counter-productively, that the hateful violent are increasingly sent to one of the best-known ‘colleges’ of hatred – the prison system, itself in grave need of reform. Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s prompt assurances to India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must be accompanied with sophisticated action. The raw-nerve (sometimes knee-jerk, sometimes cynical) reaction evinced by many politicians about finding and punishing the culprits will not do. The problem is far more complex.

    Radically, we need to ensure that a false sense of ‘justice’ having been done is not engendered. Especially in dealing with aftermaths of crime (and for preventive capacity over time), I would point to far wider notions of ‘Restorative Justice’ – which some institutions, including police, have had success with. See, Restorative justice: An Australian perspective.

    Racism thrives on ignorance, and on unreal social structures where persons and groups cannot get to interact with and appreciate persons and groups who are different. The locus of Australia’s achievements in multi-culturalism were not the politicians, but were staged in the Australian suburbs. They belong to the people, both older Australians and migrants, and they must not let political elites obsure or attempt top down solutions.

    Racism and urban crime and violence greatly worsen in times of economic hardship and unemployment. India’s High Commissioner to Australia, Sujatha Singh, has said that she thinks Australia is not a racist society, but that there were are elements in Australia that hold “racist attitudes”. Referring to the Victoria Police, she spoke of a “lack of sensitivity” towards Indian student victims of crime. Mrs Singh has very rightly criticised the suggestion from the Victoria Police, with whom she has had an urgently-called meeting, that Indian students should move to safer suburbs. This police reaction the students’ realities lacks aliveness to the situation of many students. For many Indian and other foreign students, since they have to use their money extremely judiciously, live in lower rent suburbs, at a sacrifice of long periods of travel to and from their places of study. This fact lends futher strength to the call by the Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) for a multi-cultural police section. I recently had the pleasure of meeting a busload of young Indian students who were visiting Steve Irwin’s famous Australia Zoo, and had a great chat. They studied Catering here.  They were by no means all from well-to-do sectors.

    A very real question is: why is some given suburb unsafe? If it is unsafe, then the situation is not only a policing matter but also a matter that needs to be addressed by the whole community, with inputs from all the civic, religious, cultural, sporting, political and social welfare groups. 

    It is to be hoped that other countries will not be shy of demanding strong accountability of Australia for the most proactive welfare of their students who study in this country.

    The Age reports that The Deputy Commissioner of the Victorian Police Walshe believes ‘some Indian students were being attacked because they were by nature quiet and passive people, they travelled late at night, often alone and carried expensive gadgets’.

    But if the situation is not fast and well-addressed (and one of the criticisms of the police and Victorian Government is that they have not acted sensitively or properly), India will not be too quiet and passive, and nor should she be.

    We in Australia cannot forever, and unchallenged, pose ourselves as the great and successful multicultural undertaking on which many of us have felt a pride. Though there is truth and remarkable accomplishment, there is a point at which the resting on laurels, lazy assumptions and government propaganda have to be ground to a halt by our strong effort.

    Among other authorities, Australian educators are going to have to address these issues very seriously and proactively. No ethnic group, or individual, should have to suffer any slight. A few years ago, I learnt that my former Indian yoga teacher, a woman, one of the most gracious and loved people one could ever meet, had been spat on. The disturbingness of this act dealt to one person is serious, but what to speak when reports of horrible actions are wider-spread.  

    Having been a University student at the time of the great moratoriam marches against the war in Vietnam, and close enough to some of the events to know the facts, it was easy to see how very small but vicious agitator elements posed a danger to triggering off trouble. Key dangers were a minority of rabble, and the governments of the day and their police forces. Over the years, there have been reforms to police practice, including raising the educational qualifications, greatly increasing the presence of women, breaking down cultures of sectarianism, nepotism, and so forth. The Victorian government will need to probe whether any of the police acted outside proper professional guidelines.

    It is no use Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd simply “deploring” to India and “assurring” her of urgent action. The problem lies far deeper than political accommodations can reach. All of us need to be engaged in the peaceful solution.

    A Helpline for Indian students who are victims of crime is available: 1800342800. From 10am to 5pm, and 7pm to 11pm, Monday to Friday.

    Reading and Viewing  – with link to the Channel NineMSN Australian Current Affairs program. This shows the sickening conduct of security personnel, seen by millions of Australians. The security detail was called by SWARA, when, to judge from the wide and separate questioning of those who had been involved, and from careful examination of the footage, the position appears to be clearly this: that social work professionals, volunteers and disabled clients were assailed without SWARA’s recourse to those pillars of Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings which SWARA professes to hold: Truth, Right Conduct, Love, Peace and Non-violence. There are those close to the issues who still regard themselves as Sathya Sai Baba devotees who have used such terms as “disgusted” when they describe the conduct of SWARA committee personnel.

    On The Attacks on Students

    Indian Students Attacked In Melbourne Australia: Cricket Star Brett Lee Voices Concerns

    Australia’s Channel NineMSN Exposes Security Violence At SWARA

    Sathya Sai Baba Cult Exposure By Major TV Channel In Australia

    Sathya Sai Cult Under Media Scutiny In Australia

    Australian Current Affair: ‘Infiltrating A Cult’ (Sathya Sai Baba)

    (see the original video and report here)

    Posted in News and Politics, Opinion, Politics, Sikhism, Social and Politics, South Asia, Uncategorized, World Issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »