Political Affairs
Get all the latest local news and viral content from Bharat with a focus on top national events and trending local stories.

Indian Diaspora Alarmed by Australian State Media's Pro-Khalistan Bias

© AFP 2023 COLE BURSTONDemonstrators rally in support of Khalistan, an advocated independent Sikh homeland, in Toronto on September 25, 2023, following the murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Demonstrators rally in support of Khalistan, an advocated independent Sikh homeland, in Toronto on September 25, 2023, following the murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. - Sputnik India, 1920, 17.06.2024
Indians are the fastest-growing diaspora in Australia and the second-biggest immigrant group in the country. However, recent public discourse in the country has fuelled anxiety among many Hindus and Indian community members.
There are significant concerns among members of the Indian diaspora in Australia over what they deem as a "pro-Khalistan bias" in the reportage of state broadcasters – Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) as well as Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).
Influential Indians from Melbourne and Sydney, who didn’t wish to be identified at the moment, have told Sputnik India that the ABC seems to have adopted a tendency to amplify voices of Khalistan extremists, while ignoring the concerns of Hindus.

"The ABC talks about the events in Canada but conveniently forgets every time to question pro-Khalistan "hooliganism" here in Australia", one of the sources said.

The diaspora members recalled that Australia was yet to "fix accountability" for the violence against Indians at Melbourne’s Federation Square in January 2023. Back then, pro-Khalistan extremists, who were holding a "referendum", attacked people with Indian flags.
They also point out that Australian authorities were yet to take seriously the probe into attack on Hindu temples by pro-Khalistan radicals.

"Despite assurances by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to Prime Minister Modi last May, nothing or very little has been done in that direction," the sources asserted. "Is the safety and security of law-abiding Australian Hindus more important than Khalistan separatists?"

ABC Targets Modi

The community members' concerns have increased further after a new report by the ABC, 'Infiltrating Australia', published on Monday morning. The company also broadcast a documentary on the topic on its Four Corners TV show.
The report claims that at least four Indian intelligence officers, some of who had been "posing as diplomats", were asked to leave the country in 2020-21 period for running alleged covert operations.
Further, the report reads that Indian authorities had been targeting "Sikh separatists" in Australia and their families in India. Most of these activists are involved in advocating a single state of 'Khalistan' to be carved out of the state of Punjab.
The report's authors stated to have spoken to several radicals, including an associate of designated Canadian terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead in a Vancouver suburb last June.
Moreover, the broadcaster accused the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP), a diaspora support group of India’s ruling party, of trying to "infiltrate" Australian politics through connections with the Liberal Party, Australia’s main opposition.

Reacting to the ABC Four Corners documentary, government MP Andrew Charlton urged the need to have a "fair and respectful" discussion on the issues.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau linked the killing to the "agents" of the Indian government, while New Delhi has denied any relation to the case.
Significantly, the ABC also points to growing coordination among Sikh radicals in Canada and Australia.
Indian authorities have described the Khalistan issue as a "red line", as it directly targets the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.
However, Australia has sided with Canada and the US on the matter, despite a growing partnership with India under the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad grouping).
Moreover, both countries elevated their ties to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) in June 2020. In 2022, the states signed the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), the first free trade deal India signed in over a decade.

'ABC Singularly Focussed on Modi'

Indian-Australian sources further claimed that ABC seemed to be "singularly focussed" on criticising Prime Minister Modi and the BJP as far as their reportage of South Asia was concerned.
They believe that the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) was just a "support group" and not officially affiliated with the Modi-led party.
At the same time, there are support groups for Indian National Congress (INC), Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) or the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as well, they said.

Nevertheless, the diaspora members highlighted that ABC’s "anti-India bias" was being peddled by vested political interests, which include Greens Senator David Shoebridge, who has been quoted in the report.

While Shoebridge received an award from Pakistani President on 14 August, 2021 for his contribution to "human rights", he, however, remains a controversial figure in the Indian community due to his past remarks comparing Hindu groups to Nazis, the sources concluded.
PM Modi with his Australian counterpart - Sputnik India, 1920, 24.05.2023
Sputnik Opinion
Australia Just Paying ‘Lip Service’ to India’s Concerns on Khalistan, Academic Says
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала