As soon as the details of India travel ban and order saying “anyone who tries to enter Australia from India will be fined and/or jailed for up to 5 years” reached Australian community social media is abuz with angry posts.
Not only social commentators, politicians, and community leaders but also the Indian Australian community, in general, have expressed their displeasure about the tone and tanner of the Federal government’s order.
Yadu Singh is the President of the Federation of Indian Associations of NSW.
He told The Australia Today, “Indian Australian community is unsure how anybody from India will be able to come to Australia presently when there is no flight to Australia from India either directly or via a 3rd country. Our community is unable to see the logic behind this announcement.”
“We urge the government to put extra efforts to repatriate 9000 stranded Australians in India when it is safe to do so. They are our people. Extra quarantine facilities may need to be created to bring these stranded Australians home. Australia has a moral obligation to look after these stranded Australians in every way possible,” Mr. Singh further explained.
Melbourne has the largest number of Indian Australians living in any city of Australia.
Melbourne-based Karthik Arasu, President of Federation of Indian Australians says, “I have written a letter to the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Assistant Minister of Multicultural Affairs Jason Wood requesting them to address the community concerns over the criminalisation of India travel ban.”
“While we do understand the temporary pause in travel from India to Australia, making it a criminal offense is deeply concerning.”
He told The Australia Today, “Indian Australians have been contributing in numerous ways to support the Government efforts with their fight against Covid19. This order has brought in great anguish and frustration amongst community members.”
“We hope the Hon Minister will consider other measures such as imposing strict guidelines for an airline not to board anyone with departure stamp originating from India within 15 days or more, having extended quarantine with costs charged to the person traveling, offshore quarantine, etc.”
Ravi Kant Bhatnagar is an IT consultant in Melbourne.
He told The Australia Today, “This order by Health Minister has created a lot of anguish and panic among the Indian Australian community. A lot of people feel this is discrimination against the community, as it was never done before in the history of Australia.”
Australian Human Rights Commission has also released a statement saying India travel ban raises serious human rights concerns.
“The need for such restrictions must be publicly justified. The Government must show that these measures are not discriminatory and the only suitable way of dealing with the threat to public health.”
The Commission also urged Parliament’s Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 to review these new restrictions immediately.
Nick Talley, is Editor-in-Chief, Medical Journal Australia.
He wrote on social media, “A travel ban for Australian citizens from India will come into effect with criminal sanctions. I read this was based on “expert medical advice”. If so, I’d like to see the advice and evidence that justifies placing these Australians in harms way. And what about the rest of the world?”
Osman Faruqi is Melbourne based social comentrator.
He say, “The path to this India travel ban insanity was paved by the same people who are now losing their minds about it imo. You can’t spend a year celebrating the government’s border policies, staying quiet on how they’ve been racially based, and then yell out about at the very end.”