The string of attacks on students from India while travelling on late-night trains has forced them to form groups to protect themselves in this Australian city.
Every night this week students and workers have gathered at the western suburbs station of St Albans to provide safe passage for Indian commuters, The Age reported on Friday.
“Their action is in response to racist taunts and abuse on trains, and bashings while making their way home.”
The community had no option after incidents of intimidation in which train inspectors failed to intervene and police failed to respond to calls for help, the newspaper quoted commuter Gary Singh as saying.
A group of 100 to 150 mostly Indian men meet outside the station. The group waits at the station every night from 9.30 pm until the last train. Then it is divided into smaller groups that are assigned to street corners to prevent attacks.
On Tuesday night, a long knife was flashed at Singh and two of his friends.
Singh said he called police and pointed out the youth, but “the police didn’t check on them, they just told us to go home”. “We are not giving up,” he said. “We are here to save our friends. We are not getting any protection from police or from the railways.”
Another youth Amrinder Singh, 21, said his former housemate was badly beaten on his way home 18 months ago. Six months later he was punched in the eye by a group of five, including a girl. It took police 90 minutes to arrive.
Inderjeet Singh, 20, an automotive student at RMIT, spoke of arriving on the 1.05 am train and as he walked home with four friends, a car with five men lay in wait for them, armed with a golf stick and baseball bats. They managed to flee.