Heartless and outrageous: a national inquiry needed to fine-tune surrogacy

Sydney, 9th October, 2014

Reading the newspapers this morning, I feel concerned and perturbed with some issues around surrogacy.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/australian-couple-abandons-surrogate-baby-in-india-20141008-113cmk.html

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/08/calls-national-inquiry-after-another-australian-couple-abandon-surrogate-baby

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/foreign-affairs/former-foreign-ministers-dont-recall-abandoned-india-surrogate-baby/story-fn59nm2j-1227084574732

Only recently, we were told that  baby Gammy was abandoned by an Australian couple in Thailand, because he has Down’s syndrome. His twin sister, who was healthy, was brought to Australia. http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2014/s4089822.htm

In the currently reported case, which has been investigated by ABC, and reported extensively, an agency arranged a surrogate mother in India, who gave birth to twins in 2012. Australian family took only one child, based on the gender, but did not bring the other child to Australia.

They did this, despite efforts from Australian High Commission in India, which tried to persuade the couple to bring both children to Australia. They even delayed issuing visa to encourage the couple to change their minds. It has been reported that an Australian politician pressured Australian High Commission to help this couple. Former Australian Foreign Affairs ministers, Bob Carr and Kevin Rudd, have denied that they were involved in pressuring Australian Consular officials.

Who is this politician then? I think Australians deserve to know his/her name.

http://www.surrogacyaustralia.org/about-us/general-info-on-overseas-surrogacy link provides how surrogacy operates, and is conducted.

I have no doubt that surrogacy plays a very important role in helping childless parents.

Family Court Chief Justice, Diana Bryant, has been quoted that the abandoned child was passed on to another family and money possibly changed hands to facilitate this. She thought this amounted to “child trafficking”.

Federal Circuit Court Chief Judge, John Pascoe, has asked for a national inquiry into surrogacy.

I am unable to understand how parents abandon children born out of surrogacy arrangements. These children are their own.

I am also concerned about gender or the health of the child being used as a factor in this decision. The question is who is responsible for the abandoned child. The answer to this is that it can not be the surrogate mother unless she makes an informed decision to agree to it by keeping the baby with her. Commissioning parents must be the ones who should be responsible for looking after the kid (s) born out of surrogacy arrangements.

It is not only a moral issue, but it clearly is a legal issue too.

A national inquiry is indeed needed to fine-tune and streamline surrogacy in Australia.

Dr Yadu Singh

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India should not be used by anyone as a launch pad for sea voyage to Australia!

Sydney, 29th July, 2014

Boat people Boat people2 Indian Flag

I am perturbed with some commentary whereby some people including Senator Sarah Hanson-Young are casting indirect aspersion on how India treats refugees. (http://tinyurl.com/k239hsrPoints are being made that India is not a signatory county to UN Refugees Convention. Some of them have mentioned even terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and A-Sham) in the same paragraph. ISIS executes people in cold-blood, and is hurting and subjugating people from religions other than their Sunni sect of Islam. This, even indirect aspersion, is inappropriate and offensive. India is not ISIS and can not even be remotely equated with it.

India is a vibrant and the biggest democracy of the world. It has rule of law with free judiciary and totally free media. It has refugees from Sri Lanka, Burma, Bangladesh, China and many other countries. It has a proud and long history of welcoming persecuted people from all corners of the world. Parsis (Zoroastrians) left Persia because they were persecuted. Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans exiles have lived in India for several decades without any persecution or troubles. India treats refugees humanly and with care. India may not be a signatory to UN Refugees convention, but its treatment of those who claim refuge is exemplary. UNHCR (United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees) itself has said this about  India many times. India lets UNHCR do the assessment about people’s refugee status, which is fair,  appropriate and prudent.

Raising concerns about India’s credentials as a caring society is objectionable.

Coming to the current issue of 157 boat people (all likely to be Sri Lankan Tamils) who were intercepted by Australian Navy just outside its Maritime zone about a month ago, it is clear that the Boat has come from Indian Shores. From all the information, it is clear that they are all Sri Lankan Tamils, who were in a refugee camp near Pondicherry, South India. India is affected in multiple ways and is a concerned party. Its shores were used as the launching pad for this boat to Australia. India needs to know who these people are and how did they use Indian shores for launching  the voyage to Australia.

It is a security issue for India. India has an ongoing issue with Pakistan, from where terrorists enter Indian territories to perpetrate terrorist attacks in India. I am not saying that the boat in question is carrying terrorists, but not being concerned and alarmed with this type of voyage will render India a hypocrite. India has a right to figure out who these people are and what is the exact composition of these people.

Australia and India are friendly countries, and have strategic relations. I am pleased that Australian Minister for Immigration & Border Control, Scott Morrison, visited India recently and had a discussion with Indian Foreign Affairs Minister, Smt Sushma Swaraj. He was able to get an undertaking from Indian Govt that it will take back these people if they are Indian citizens and residents. That is a huge achievement for Australia.

India will not, and should not, allow its territories to be used as the launch pad for things which are against any other nation. In this case, it is the stated policy of Australia that they do not want to entertain illegal maritime arrivals. Current Federal Govt took the policy of “Stop the boats” to people during 2013 election and received a mandate. Previous Govt led by Julia Gillard/Kevin Rudd too had this policy. Offshore processing of illegal maritime arrivals has been the policy of Govts of both political persuasions.

Australia can not afford to have the repetition of 5000 people arriving every month, claiming refugee status. We do not have the money to afford their accommodation, food, health and education. Our national Budget is in deficit and our economy is in stress. We have to look after our elderly, homeless and less fortunate people first. We have to look after our disadvantaged people first.

Australia should accept its fair share of refugees, but there is no way it can afford an unlimited number of people who want to come to our shores with refugee claim. Australia is a caring and generous society, but there is a limit to it.

I am concerned that some people decide to come to Australia from countries where they were not facing persecution. India is definitely one such country. There is no persecution programme for anyone in India. Indians generally, free Indian  media and independent judiciary will not let this happen either.

About the people in the Boat, who have now been brought to Curtin Detention Centre, I am not sure that they faced any persecution in India. Based on the prevalent governance and political system, it is unlikely they faced any persecution in India. They were living in the area ie Tamil Nadu, which is the homeland of Tamils in India.

This fact alone makes it likely that they are economic refugees, not genuine refugees.

If there is any Indian national in this group of people, then they should be sent back to India without any delay, because their claim for refugee status will be bogus, preposterous and baseless.

Australia has all the rights to refuse to accept economic refugees. Australia has all the sovereign rights to control flow of illegal maritime arrivals. Australia in fact has an undeniable responsibility to look after its disadvantaged people before allocating billions on people who are not Australia’s primary responsibility.

I see no problem in Australia working with India to figure out who these people are, where they have come from and why have they come to our shores in this manner.

Australia has full rights to send them to the country from where they have come from if they are not genuine refugees.

Australia has a well-stated and bipartisan policy of offshore processing and not settling illegal maritime arrivals in Australia. Australia does not encourage illegal maritime arrivals. It has been working with nations in the region to stop the illegal maritime arrivals. This is the first boat which has been allowed to land on our shores in over 7 months, presumably to allow sufficient time to Indian officials to process information and cross-check it.

Australia is within its rights to work with nations in our region to achieve the stated policy goals. I am in full support of these goals. I know many others, in fact a majority of Australians, are in support of these goals.

Finally, India should not allow anyone, under any circumstance, to use its shores or territories as a launch pad for voyage as “illegal maritime arrival” to Australia or any other country!

Dr Yadu Singh

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Proud and privileged to be in the list of “Goldmine” leaders from the Western Sydney!

The Daily Telegraph Newspaper published a list of key people from Western Sydney, calling them “Goldmine” leaders!

I feel proud and privileged to be included in this list! Image

I must admit that it was a humbling experience to see my name in this list of great people.

Here is the article from The Daily Telegraph newspaper! http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/competitions/fair-go-for-the-west-meet-the-goldmine-leaders/story-fngy6zqs-1226881501042

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Fair Go for the West: Meet the goldmine leaders!

Sydney’s West is a goldmine of single-minded leaders who would rather make a difference than make excuses. 

Whether it be building some of Australia’s most successful businesses, mentoring new arrivals to the West, leading sports teams worth cheering for or simply breeding the best darn chickens you’ll taste, they are making Sydney a better place.

 

Paul Lederer

Paul Lederer runs Primo Smallgoods at Chullora.

Paul Lederer runs Primo Smallgoods at Chullora. Source: News Limited

 

The Primo Group chief executive has transformed a Hungarian family tradition of smoking meats into a $1.4 billion international enterprise run from Chullora with 4000 employees.

Estimated to hold a personal fortune of $630 million, he will indulge his passion for soccer when he takes control of the Western Wanderers from July 1, leading a new ownership team including Pirtek founder Peter Duncan and Filipino-Chinese businessman Jefferson Cheng.

 

Katie Page and Gerry Harvey,

Harvey Norman chief executive and chairman

This dynamic duo have been working and playing hard in Western Sydney since Harvey Norman opened its Auburn store in 1982.

The Harvey Norman business, of which Harvey is chairman and Page CEO, now has eight stores in the West, employing more than 1400 locals.

Harvey, who went to high school in Katoomba, is also Australia’s biggest horse breeder, while Page’s passions include the West’s exotic food and restaurant scene. They live in the northwest.

Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey with managing director and wife Katie Page.

Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey with managing director and wife Katie Page. Source: News Limited

 

 

Jihad Dib

For eight years, the Punchbowl Boys High School principal has been inspiring his students to lift their sights.

The results are easy to see. The school where drug gangs once ruled and barbed wire topped the fences now wins educational awards.

While only a handful of year 12 boys once thought about going to university each year, now about a third of the class go on and many more do vocational training.

Dib was able to joke recently that the school may be getting too soft when a fight broke out over hand cream.

Jihad Dib with students out the front of Punchbowl Boys High School

Jihad Dib with students out the front of Punchbowl Boys High School Source: News Limited

 

 

Raelene Castle

Since becoming the first female to lead an NRL club eight months ago, Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs CEO has won respect as a no-nonsense operator focused on instilling an honest, hardworking culture.

As she builds the Bulldogs’ appeal to the families and businesses of the West, she has shown a strict attitude to player behaviour and doesn’t tolerate fools — as Cronulla’s Andrew Fifita recently discovered when Canterbury terminated his $3.5 million deal after some ill-chosen comments.

New Canterbury Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle pictured at Bemore Oval.

New Canterbury Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle pictured at Bemore Oval. Source: News Limited

 

 

Nick Moraitis has built a huge fresh produce business in the west.

Nick Moraitis has built a huge fresh produce business in the west. Source: News Limited

Cate Sydes, Marist Youth Care CEO.

Cate Sydes, Marist Youth Care CEO. Source: News Limited

Nick Moraitis

 

The Moraitis Group founder has worked in the West for 60 years, building a multifaceted food empire with revenues pushing $1 billion.

Through his partnership with fellow western tycoon Paul Lederer, he recently joined forces with Hungry Jacks’ founder Jack Cowin to produce salads and fresh soups for major retailers.

“The West is full of talented people but we need more businesses based here and more jobs,’’ said Moraitis, 79, who owned champion thoroughbred Might and Power.

 

Cate Sydes

The Marist Youth Care CEO is Western Sydney’s Good Samaritan, having worked with those on Struggle St since helping Aboriginal children in Mount Druitt 30 years ago.

Based at Blacktown, she leads one of Australia’s largest service providers for youth at risk.

“I’ve always been drawn to kids and young people in need,” says Sydes, who lost both of her parents while still in her teens. “My dream is that one day I’ll be out of work.’’

 

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Tony Shepherd

From advising the PM on how to get our national finances under control to building Western Sydney freeways and a new sports franchise, the diminutive Greater Western Sydney Giants chairman is a serious power player.

As the outgoing Business Council of Australia president and former chairman of construction giant Transfield Services, he has a contact book than sprawls from west to east, as evidenced by his recent appointment as chair of the SCG Trust.

 

Jim Marsden

Described by “Mr Olympics” Rod McGeoch as the “smartest man in the west”, the Marsdens Law Group senior partner has been at the centre of Campbelltown life since growing up in the local pub.

Whether it be handling the legal affairs of the region’s business elite or personally lobbying NRL chief Dave Smith to settle a team (ie his beloved Wests Tigers) in Campbelltown, Marsden is a passionate advocate of the southwest, where he has raised his four children.

He still gets a chuckle out of his late brother John Marsden’s famous quip: “There are two great cities in the world — Rome and Campbelltown.’’

 

Louise Cordina

The Cordina family have been feeding Australia “cage-free” chicken since pioneering the concept in the 1950s.

The 34-year-old is the first fourth-generation member of the Cordinas to help lead the family’s famous business with her father John. It is now one of the top 100 family-owned firms in the nation.

She grew up next door to the family’s Girraween factory and adopts a typically unpretentious Western Sydney style, saying: “We have never had aspirations to be out there being the biggest.’’

John and Louise Cordina.

John and Louise Cordina. Source: News Limited

 

 

Lyall Gorman

The Wanderers chairman tapped into Western Sydney’s passion and energy to create the A-League soccer franchise.

Gorman, highly rated by soccer supremo Frank Lowy, leads a board which includes distinguished Australian-Chinese businessman Benjamin Chow and influential Aboriginal leader Warren Mundine.

“One of our major goals is to be a catalyst for true social change across western Sydney — part of that is inspiring young people to be the absolute best they can be,’’ he says.

Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman.

Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman. Source: AAP

 

 

Christopher Brown

When the history is written of how an airport finally came to be built at Badgerys Creek, at least once chapter should be devoted to Brown.

As a member of the federal government’s panel that recommended Badgerys, the Parramatta-bred tourism advocate kept talking when others didn’t want to listen. He was also one of the first to talk up his home town as a genuine CBD.

Today, he chairs the Eels Round Table Forum and sits on the board of the University of Western Sydney and the Moorebank Intermodal Company.

 

Grant O’Brien

The electrical apprentice who rose to become CEO of supermarket giant Woolworths, headquartered in north-western Sydney’s Bella Vista, still keeps a focus on the workers of tomorrow.

O’Brien leads 190,000 employees, but is spearheading a major youth employment initiative called Generation Success to find ways to give more young people improved career prospects.

 

Jeremy Donovan

Jeremy Donovan Source: Supplied

Jeremy Donovan

 

Donovan, an internationally renowned didgeridoo player, was tapped last year to become the national ambassador in mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s GenerationOne indigenous initiative when Warren Mundine stepped down as CEO.

The 34-year-old, who is raising four children at Mulgoa, near Penrith, is part of the new breed of indigenous leaders who believes lives are only transformed through education and work, not welfare dependency.

 

Lionel Lee

The grandson of Chinese immigrant Bing Lee runs what has become the largest privately held electrical retail business in NSW with more than 40 stores visited by 120,000 people a week.

Old Guilford continues to serve as Lee’s corporate headquarters, harking back to the company’s early days in Fairfield selling black and white TVs to new immigrants who did not have a credit rating.

 

Rawand Al-Hinti

The Jordanian-born 21-year-old has been identified as one of the West’s articulate young voices.

“I believe if you work hard and aim for success you’ll flourish regardless of what suburb you are from or what school you went to,’’ she says.

The Macarthur Girls High School vice-captain, who mentors other university students while studying law and international relations, was recently appointed to the NSW government’s Youth Advisory Council.

 

Stuart Ayres

The enthusiastic Liberal MP for Penrith is winning praise since being promoted to become Premier Barry O’Farrell’s Minister for Western Sydney late last year.

The 33-year-old, who is the partner of federal Liberal Senator Marise Payne, has helped drive the government’s decision to relocate more than 3000 bureaucrats to western Sydney and understands the urgent need to create jobs and build new houses.

 

David Borger

The former Labor State Minister and Parramatta Mayor remains a strong campaigner for change as Sydney Business Chamber’s Western Sydney director.

“It sometimes feels like those in the east aren’t interested in the west and that’s a problem,’’ he said in his typically frank style last October.

James and Gretel Packer have sought his advice in relation to their $30 million arts gift to the West.

 

Barney Glover

The newly appointed University of Western Sydney Vice-Chancellor has wasted little time settling in, winning in-principle approval from his board this week to build a major campus in Parramatta’s CBD.

The former VC at Charles Darwin University will work closely in his new role with the UWS’ well-connected Chancellor Peter Shergold.

 

Yadu Singh

The Indian Australian Association of NSW president set up shop as a cardiologist in Baulkham Hills soon after arriving from India in 1991.

He has been writing and speaking passionately ever since as a leader of Australia’s — and Western Sydney’s — fastest-growing immigrant group.

His 12,400 Twitter followers are rarely left in doubt about his views, whether it be his advocacy on behalf of Indian students, his defence of Australia against claims it is racist or his support of a Western Sydney airport.

 

Tony Perich

The son of Croatian immigrants, the Greenfields Development Co managing director is turning dairy country into up-market housing developments in the buzzing southwest.

Estimated by BRW to be worth more than $850 million, the Perich family was once the biggest dairy farmer in the southern hemisphere through its Leppington Pastoral Company.

The family’s assets include the iconic former Oran Park raceway where at least 5500 houses and units are being developed, along with the biggest Woolworths in Australia.

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The End

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Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/23rd April, 2014

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Emigration from Australia is big and not inconsequential!

ImageWhen people leave a country, it is called emigration. When they come to a country, it is called immigration.

In case of Australia, emigration has increased significantly since mid 1990s. 91 761 left Australia in 2012-13. 52.7% of these people were born overseas. This was 51.1 % a year earlier. Rest were Australia-born.

People born in NZ formed the biggest component (10%) of emigration of overseas-born migrants, followed by UK-born (8.2%), China-born (7%), Hong Kong-born (2.7%) and then USA-born (1.4%) people.

A majority of these overseas-born emigrants returned to the country of their birth. Majority of these people had lived in Australia for more than 5 years.

Emigration of Australia-born was largely (44%) to UK, USA and NZ, followed by Singapore, Hong Kong and UAE, and was largely for better jobs/incomes.

62.9% of total emigrants were in skilled jobs before they left.

Emigration is not just a simple movement of people from Australia. It has an impact on multiple fronts as it creates not only a significant change in overall population, but it also creates loss of skills in addition to lack of return on the investment-social or otherwise on these people. On the benefit side, it generates trading links between Australia and the countries these emigrants are going to, facilitates access to markets in those countries, increases remittances from those countries, in addition to bringing back new skills if/when these emigrants return back to Australia.

What can be done to reduce emigration:

While it is true that many factors operate for why people emigrate. While some people leave Australia for family reasons, it is presumed that economic reasons will be pretty important too. Some serious research is needed to have a better understanding about this matter

Anecdotally, and if you speak with migrants, many express a particular concern, which needs some attention by policy makers and Govt leaders.

Many highly skilled migrants find it difficult to get a job which is commensurate with their education and skills. Lack of local (Australian) experience is often quoted to deny the jobs which they deserve and are qualified for. There is often a glass-ceiling. This can/should be changed with a systemic approach to help skilled migrants get a job for which they are well qualified. They can be under some supervision for 3-6 months, if necessary.

Employers can/should be given some incentives to employ these highly qualified and skilled migrants. It does not make any sense to attract skilled migrants to Australia and do nothing to help them settle in the country or in fact do something which discourages them to stay here.

To not do anything to help them settle in Australia has an adverse impact not only on our economy because these migrants have much needed skills which they take away with them while moving away to countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, UAE and other countries, but also it causes serious impact on migrants themselves with many experiencing disillusionment and even depression.

This is an important issue for Australia. Westpac research (see Jennifer West’s comments in the article link) outlines that newer migrants generate 200 billions annually, which is not a small amount by any count. It’s about time that Immigration Dept and Employment Departments of various State/Territory Govts should look into this matter seriously.

This topic was covered by Australian media (Lisa Cornish) recently, for which I was interviewed.

http://mobile.news.com.au/national/australias-migrants-leaving-their-new-home-in-search-of-a-better-life/story-fncynjr2-1226810397650

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/28th Jan, 2014

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Kyle Sandilands & India matter resolved.

A bend in the Ganges river, Garhwal hills, Utt...

Image via Wikipedia

I am pleased to report that Sydney’s 2Day FM Radio station and Kyle Sandilands have realised the mistake in their comments and issued an apology. This apology has been on air by Kyle, and in writing by Adam Lang, General Manager of 2day FM Radio station, who had sent a letter to me yesterday.

This is from what Kyle has said.

” I’m apologising….. anyone that’s Indian that listens to this show knows that I love Indians…. I don’t discriminate. I love everyone. I don’t care where they are, where they are from, what colour they are, I just made the mistake that the river which, to me, looks polluted, I said it was a junkyard and I did not realise it was holy.”

This is what Adam Lang said. ” In this instance, I hope that you feel that Kyle Sandilands and 2Day FM have taken full responsibility for the offence caused by remarks made. The offence was not intended but that consequence is absolutely accepted and we do sincerely apologise.”

I have heard the audio and it is good.

The Council of Indian Australians’ Press release is here. CIA_Press_Release_No12_2Day-FM-apologises

With this, the matter arising from Kyle’s comments has been resolved to our satisfaction. We are happy that it has been resolved so quickly. This chapter is now closed.

I urge Indian media in India and Indians all over the World to close this chapter too. There is no need for any campaign or protest anymore. Desi Kangaroos TV clip is here.  http://youtu.be/LwIsrAaKilU

As I had said in my Sydney Morning Herald interview yesterday http://tinyurl.com/4xvkx2s , this matter was not between Australia and India. It was between Kyle and the listeners. It did affect Indians all over the world however. A lot of Indians were upset but some also agreed with him.

In Australia, just like India, press is free. Govt of Australia does not control press here, just like India. The protest by us and people every where else did work. This is a sign that media in  a free country does listen to public opinion.

Let us take emotions out from this debate now. River Ganges is a Holy river in Hinduism. Accepting it as a Holy River is fine and true, but it is not enough. National Govt and State Governments in India have not done enough to stop pollution of this river or any other river. This is unpardonable. How can they allow so much waste going into this River in the cities along the course of Ganges? 

Protests and campaigns are fine and justified, but they alone will not achieve results. There is a need to take real action to stop pollution of Ganges and recover it from the damage. Will that happen or will this outrage die out in a few days? Will people forget that the basic issue is that India has allowed Ganges and other rivers getting so polluted?

Let us take the message that India has a serious issue of pollution of its natural resources and let us accept that it is all man-made. All of us already know it and Kyle’s comments have only re-inforced this fact. We have been shown a mirror and the things were not pretty. That needs to change.

Although we do love to blame bureaucracy and political system for the problem of this nature, it remains a fact that we too are responsible for it. It is about time that we accept this fact and do something effective and fast.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/3rd Aug, 2011

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Sydney Morning Herald coverage of Kyle Sandilands’ comments!

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/kyle-sandilands-in-hot-water-with-hindus-over-junkyard-ganges-20110802-1i9ff.html

Kyle Sandilands of 2Day FM made some anti-India comments. Sydney Morning Herald covered this matter. It was a balanced report.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/2nd Aug, 2011

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Kyle sandilands of 2Day FM should be ashamed for making offensive comments against India & River Ganges.

Today Network
Image via Wikipedia

See the link below.

http://t.co/iDNuWrQ 

 It has the sound bites of the grossly offensive anti-India comments by Kyle Sandilands of 2Day FM.

They are hurtful, unnecessary and objectionable to Indian Australians, to whom India will always have a special place. Unlike Kyle, we do not believe India is a “shit hole”. River Ganges, which Kyle is ridiculing outrageously, is accepted as a sacred river by the followers of the Hindu religion. His comments are getting into the realm of religious beliefs of Hindus and he seems to be questioning them.

These comments are the products of arrogant,  insensitive and uninformed mind.

I wonder how much Kyle knows about India before he made these objectionable comments.

2Day FM management should ask him to apologise for his hurtful comments.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/29th Aug, 2011

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