After Amitabh Bachchan and Union Tourism Minister, it is the Bar Council of India that has postponed its visit to Australia scheduled for July.
The decision was taken as racist attacks on Indian students continued in the country.
A 12-member team of the bar council was to visit Australia on an invitation from the Council of Australian Law Deans, their counterparts in the country.
“In view of the prevailing situation in Australia in different parts of the country, members of the Bar Council of India have decided to postpone the scheduled visit to Australia, i.e. from July 9 to 17, 2009 for the present,” wrote SNP Sinha, the council’s chairman, in a letter to Sarah Hooper, deputy head of mission, Australian High Commission.
Talking to HT, Sinha said: “We have postponed the programme till normalcy is restored in Australia as it is not desirable to undertake the journey at present.”
The bar council’s decision comes close on the heels of Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja’s decision not to visit Australia in the wake of the attacks on India students there. Her visit, also scheduled for July, was in connection with a series of promotional programmes planned by the Tourism Ministry to showcase India as an attractive adventure tourism destination.
Distressed by the racist attacks on Indians, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan too had turned down an Honorary Doctorate conferred on him by Queensland University.
Besides, the alert sounded on swine flu was also one of the reasons for postponement of the visit, said Jagdev, a member of the bar council.
Earlier, William Ford, dean, Faculty of Law in the University of Western Australia, had written on June 4 to the Bar Council of India on behalf of the Council of Australian Law Deans to express “very deep concern about recent events in the State of Victoria where students from India have been assaulted and seriously injured or otherwise intimated”.
Stating that Australians were generally welcoming people, the Australian council had expressed confidence that urgent steps were being taken to address the violence that had occurred in recently.