Hassan Asif deserves compassion & kindness

Sydney, NSW                                                                                           22nd Dec, 2015

Hassan Asif is 25 years old student, who came to Australia from Pakistan in 2014 to study in a Melbourne University.

Hassan Asif

He is suffering from a terminal/advanced Cancer and is under the care of Melbourne City Mission. He is reported to have only weeks to live.

Hassan has no family in Australia and has no community ties or connections.

He was keen to have his mother and brother to come to Australia to be with him, but their temporary Visa applications have been rejected.

From reports, Department of Immigration & Border Protection (DIBP) has encouraged them to submit fresh applications.

Reading the reports, his situation is saddening and heart-wrenching.

I believe that Hassan’s case deserves to be treated with compassion and kindness.

I am hopeful that Pakistani Australian community members and many others, including members of Indian Australian community, will come forward to raise funds for Hassan’s family members’ living expenses.

One good friend of mine, Sydney businessman, Kashif Amjad, responded to my Facebook post just now with “I will follow up with Australian Ambassador in Islamabad and ppl here. I will give my personal assurance if they come i will ensure they comply with all visa conditions.”

I urge my friends, especially Pakistani Australians, to come forward and help us persuade DIBP and Immigration Minister, The Hon Peter Dutton MP to treat this case with deserved compassion & kindness, and review the case. Family members can be asked to resubmit the applications.

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Further info:

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/dying-pakistani-student-denied-final-visit-from-family-by-immigration-department-20151222-gltoso.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-22/man-with-cancer-has-weeks-to-live,-family-denied-visa/7049116

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Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.Twitter.com/dryadusingh

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This is simply ignorant and racist

Sydney, NSW
15th December, 2015

The Cartoon by Mr Bill Leak in The Australian newspaper on Monday, 14th Dec, 2015 is ignorant and racist.

Courtesy The Australian newspaper

Courtesy The Australian newspaper

It depicts a few poor Indians in India trying to eat the solar panels, with Mango Chutney. The message from the cartoon is that Indians don’t know what the Solar Panels are for or that Indians need to worry about Food, instead of high tech Solar Panels.

Bill Leak is wrong on both aspects.

Solar Panels are increasingly used in India, because of plentiful supply of sunshine, subsidy by the authorities and erratic supply of conventional energy. I know that a few people in my own village in Uttar Pradesh State have been using it for variety of purposes for many years.

Indians are fully capable of handling technology. Mobile Internet and Mobile Phones are every where, even in the remote parts of the nation. Social media is quite common everywhere.

India needs energy ie electricity. Coal-fire powered thermal power centres are the most common source for the energy, but India is making progress to diversify into Nuclear energy and Solar power. This is a responsible step because it will reduce pollution and help in climate change.

India is the fourth biggest source of global pollution. Anything which will reduce this undesirable contribution is a welcome step.

India is a developing economy but is not a economic backwater. It is 3rd biggest economy on PPP basis. It is a global leader in IT and is the fastest growing economy since last quarter of 2014, surpassing China. The days of primitive nature of economy are long gone, but people like Bill Leak seem to be stuck on the state of India in 1950s.

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Economic growth in India surpassed China this year

(Source: Charles Schwab, International Monetary Fund data as of 11/20/2015.

China’s growth rate is widely expected to decline. The IMF forecasts GDP will slow from around 6.8% in 2015 to 6.3% in 2016. However, the IMF forecasts India’s growth rate of about 7.3% in 2015 is expected to reach 7.5% in 2016 and continue to rise to 7.7% by 2020.)

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Undoubtedly, India has many poor people, but it also has approx. 300+ million strong middle class, which has the knowledge, money and interest in, and will happily benefit from, newer sources of electricity. After all, India has plentiful of sunshine.

Bill Leak probably does not know that Indians have been the number one source of migrants to Australia over last few years. They are coming as the skilled migrants too, thus contributing to the Australian economy.

There are about 450,000 people of Indian heritage currently in Australia.

I read the article in The Australian today (15th Dec, 2015). Like others, I felt offended with the inherent racist message in the Cartoon. Bill Leak has, in the past, claimed that freedom to express is a fundamental right and that right includes right to offend. It may be true on the theoretical basis, but it is equally stupid to say or convey something which is without sufficient basis or conveying something which is unwarranted.

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Yadu Singh@dryadusingh Dec 15 

, I hope you know about it.

, you are ignorant & racist. Please read up about India. should apologize.

Indian HC in Aus@navdeepsuri Dec 15

Fully aware and doing what is required. Thanks

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I remember a Cartoon in Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) a few months ago, stereotyping Jewish people in a very adverse way, leading to significant outcry. This forced the SMH to apologise for the Cartoon.

Will Bill Leak and The Australian newspaper do the same in this case is something which we would wait and watch.

Further info:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/14/australian-newspaper-cartoon-depicting-indians-eating-solar-panels-attacked-racist?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/cartoons/bleak-gallery/image-gallery/ee8a4ef1032a9da5a37c87ecb7f34c5c

Dr Yadu Singh
http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh
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Good samaritan finds Venkata Lakshmi Narasimha Sarma’s Indian passport at Sydney airport

Indian Passport

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I received the email below from a good Samaritan, Asad Asaduzzaman, who works in Bankstown City Council.

Can I ask anyone who knows Venkata to please inform him that his passport has been found?

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Dear Dr Yadu

I have found one Indian Passport at the Sydney Airport last night. His name is Venkata Lakshmi Narasimha Sarma and came to Sydney last night.

My friend, Raju Hemanth sent me your contact details and told me to send email to find this person.

If you know him, please send me his details so that I could call him to handover his passport.

Thanks

Regards

Asad

Asad Asaduzzaman – Team Leader Design

Bankstown City Council

P 02 9707 9642 | F 02 9707 9408 | E mohammed.asaduzzaman@bankstown.nsw.gov.au

www.bankstown.nsw.gov.au

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/26th June, 2015

dryadusingh@gmail.com

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An evening with Cricketing legends Brian Lara & Glenn McGrath

23rd March, 2015

Sydney, NSW

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) organised an evening on 23rd March 2015 at Novotel Hotel, Parramatta, NSW for a select group of community members, which gave them an opportunity to interact with Cricketing legends, Brian Lara and Glenn McGrath.

After a meet and mingle for about 45 minutes, where drinks and finger food were served, the interaction in the form of Q+A started. At the outset, a brief description of their background was read out. Both legends were asked questions about Cricket, predictions for the winner between India and Australia on 26th March and who is the tallest and shortest cricketer. Someone also asked whether they were ever approached by Bookies and whether they were ever stopped by Cops for speeding etc. I asked Glenn about his highest score, which, to my surprised, was 61. Glenn described how and when he scored these runs, painting a picture of his own disbelief  and disbelief even among his team mates. They also gave their views about three forms of Cricket and felt that T20 variety has made the game very popular and brought many spectators.

They answered the questions with a great sense of humour and self-depreciation.

Brian Lara even wondered about the name of Lara Datta if she married him. People laughed with the name “Lara Lara”. It was all in fun.

Brian Lara felt that India have been playing very well during the ICC World Cup matches and their poor results in January will be of no consequences. He felt India would win the Semi-final against Australia on 26th March. Not surprisingly, Glenn felt that it is Australia which will win on 26th March.

It was an enjoyable evening, with plenty of selfies which people had with both legends. Legends definitely knew how to entertain people.

Thank you, Kavita Shukla (CBA Manager, Migrants’ Banking) and CBA as an institution for providing this great opportunity to meet and interact with these two Cricketing legends.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/24th March, 2015

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Expectations from Prime Minister Modi

Dr Yadu SinghSydney, 14th November, 2014

Expectations from the Modi Govt

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, is visiting Australia between 15th and 18th Nov, 2014. After attending G20 summit in Brisbane on 15th and 16th November, he will start his state visit. Indian community is excited with this visit. This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister after PM Rajiv Gandhi visited Australia in 1986. PM Modi will interact with the community in Sydney and Melbourne, in addition to addressing a Joint session of Australian Parliament.

Prime Minister Modi’s image is that of a decisive and a “can do” leader. Indians, not just in India but around the world, are optimistic that things will change for the better and the Indian economy will grow rapidly.

When I wrote a post in June, 2014, I mentioned many things which people expected. Many of those things have either been delivered or getting delivered. Prime Ministerial visit to Australia is one of them. Nuclear trade deal has already been signed when Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited India in September. Australian citizens getting the facility of Visa on arrival in India is another one which is in the process of getting implemented. Serious work is in progress in regards to Black money, stashed in overseas Banks. Supreme Court’s activism is playing an important role in it. Investigations and prosecutions are likely to commence soon. Based on my interactions with many Indians in Australia, there are a few more things that people expect the new government to deliver.

Genuine dual citizenship: This has been discussed and debated for long. There is an almost universal demand that overseas Indians be given a right to hold genuine dual citizenship with voting and property rights, if the country of their citizenship has no issue with this and if there are no security issues with granting dual citizenship to any particular overseas Indian. If USA, UK, Australia and most of developed and democratic countries as well as some countries in the region see no issues in granting dual citizenship to their citizens, then people argue that there is no rational basis for India to deny dual citizenship to Indians. PM Modi has the political capital to deliver this long-standing demand. A petition and campaign for Dual citizenship is running on Change.org (http://tinyurl.com/kxtlosw) and Social media presently (http://tinyurl.com/m4b4luu).

Effective anti-corruption body: A group of 10-15 people from civil society including eminent jurists and overseas Indians (if possible) as well as politicians should be asked to review the Lokpal Act, passed by the Lok Sabha earlier, and suggest steps to rectify weaknesses to make it an effective corruption fighting body. Such body should have sufficient resources to discharge its functions. Unlike previous Govts, this whole process to fine-tune this should not take more than one year from the time NDA Govt took office.

The PM’s global Overseas Indians Advisory body: The PM should revamp his Global Advisory Body, constituted by the previous Govt. People in it should be those who have significant presence, influence and interactions among Indians in their countries. The practice of Indian diplomats recommending their sycophants to become members of this body should be done away with.

Country specific Overseas Indian Advisory body: Countries with significant overseas Indian populations (Australia is certainly one such country) should have an advisory body of not more than 10 people, which can be used for consultations and other advisory purposes, not only by the local GOI authorities/agencies, but also the relevant authorities/agencies in India. Its term should be for not more than 2 years.

Annual consultation between High Commission and Community: Previous High Commissioner of India in Australia, and current External Affairs Secretary, Smt Sujatha Singh, started a novel, and productive, mechanism to meet the community representatives in Canberra on a yearly basis. Representatives from all over Australia would assemble on a weekend to discuss and suggest things to Indian diplomats. Current High Commissioner, Biren Nanda, did not continue this practice. The communication from High Commission and community has been limited and confined to a small group of people, who are close to HCI. Previous practice of community consultation needs to be reactivated.

Annual dialogue between Indian and Australian leaders: Indian Australians will like to see formal and regular annual meetings between PMs, Foreign Affairs Ministers and Defence Ministers, with venues alternating between India and Australia.

Free Trade Agreement (FTA): The pace of the discussions and negotiations should be accelerated so that FTA can be concluded by the end of 2015. This will accelerate bilateral trade which has come down to about $15 billion from previous high of $21 billion. This is important as Australia already has FTAs with Japan, South Korea and China.

Bilateral and multi-lateral defence exercises between India and Australia: India and Australia should work actively to enhance their defence & strategic relations bilaterally and multilaterally in the pattern agreed prior to the 2007 Rudd Govt in Australia.

Hindi teachings in Australian Universities: To increase India’s soft power and increase the numbers of India-literate Australians, India should consider seriously funding such teaching courses in at least one University each in Sydney and Melbourne. Discussions should be had between relevant authorities to explore equal sharing of cost between Australia and India.

Facilitations of Australian Universities and TAFE to have campuses in India: Many Australian institutions are ranked quite highly in various world Universities ranking systems. Collaborations in this field should be actively facilitated and encouraged, following a pragmatic and win-win module. Indian regulations to facilitate this should be considered.

Recognition of TAFE diploma in India: Many Indian students come to Australia to train in TAFE institutes. Many then move on to Universities to complete degrees. In addition to the diplomas not being recognised to the extent that the students wanting to pursue this study in Australia do not even get the education loans, Association of Indian Universities (the peak body responsible for recognising foreign degrees) does not recognise even Bachelor degrees that may have resulted from a credit transfer after a diploma resulting in the degree component being lesser than 3 year duration. (Diploma to Degree). This is a unique feature of Australian Qualification framework and so should be understood by Educational authorities. Quite a good numbers of Indians in Australia have earned their degrees through this pathway. TAFE institutes are a unique institution and it will be beneficial for India to consider recognizing diplomas from TAFE.

Bilateral Internship positions for Australians and Indians: Institutes and Universities of repute in both countries should be encouraged to develop mechanisms to have short term (3-6 months) placements for students and researchers to enhance collaboration in science and research.

Indian media’s bureau/representatives in Australia: During 2009-10, Indian media reported issues involving Indian students in an exaggerated way, erroneously attributing racism in literally every incident. They did not interact with local long-term Indians. It was harder for media to have a grasp of the ground realities. It will be helpful if key media outlets consider basing their representatives in Australia to cover Oceania. With increasing trade related activities between Australia and India and with increased number of Indians here, there could be sufficient justification for such decisions. Indian Govt can encourage media houses to take up this matter. A good beginning could be of a posting a full time Press Trust of India (PTI) reporter in Australia.

Indian Consulate in Brisbane: Queensland is an important state for Indian investment. Indian business houses like the Adani group have an important and a significant presence in this state. It is important to have an Indian Consulate in Brisbane.

India House or Indian Cultural Centre in major capital cities: There are more than 500,000 people of Indian heritage in Australia, with a big concentration in Sydney and Melbourne. People believe that there should be Indian cultural centers in Australia, at least in Sydney and Melbourne. While some funding will be raised locally, a significant part of the funds should come from Indian Govt. Govt of India (GOI) Funds, if any, allocated for something of this nature to be established in the Indian Consulate premises in Sydney CBD should be reviewed and re-allocated for a center of this nature in areas like Parramatta or Blacktown, where the Indian community has a substantial presence. Sydney CBD is not a practical or appropriate site for an Indian Cultural Centre.

Overseas Indians’ property in India: Many overseas Indians are seeing that their properties are illegally occupied and face threats to their safety when they visit India. Court cases go on for extended periods of time. Indian Penal Code and relevant laws should be amended to tackle this menace.

Interactions between GOI agencies and Indian Australian community: It is often felt that GOI authorities in Australia do not interact with people sufficiently, thus leading to a communication gap. It is a common experience that there is a significant gap between what we expect and what is delivered. It is also felt that GOI officials often get embroiled in local community politics and play “favoritism” games depending on who they like or dislike. It is quite irrational and subjective. Steps should be implemented to improve the situation.

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs visit to Australia: With approx. 500,000 people of Indian heritage in Australia, a biennial visit of Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (The Hon Sushma Swaraj) or her deputy, The Hon Gen (Retd) V K Singh or External Affairs Secretary, should be included in the official GOI travel calendar. This will help facilitate interactions with the community and facilitate Overseas Indians’ investment in India.

Streamlined grievance redressal mechanism for Overseas Indians: Overseas Indian Affairs ministry has often not been very helpful and help has often not come in a timely fashion due to excessive bureaucratic influences. This should be reviewed and streamlined.

Exchanges between Academicians and civil Society leaders: We need regular bilateral exchange visits of academics, journalists, leaders and civil society leaders. This will help improve relations between the two countries. The scope and numbers should be increased.

In summary, it will be of mutual benefit to the community in Australia and India if the Indian government is proactive in considering the interests and welfare of the Indian community down under.

 

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/14th November, 2014

dryadusingh@gmail.com

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Press release on Dual Citizenship

Dr Yadu SinghSydney, Australia

14th November, 2014

Press Release

Indian community in Australia starts an online campaign to urge Indian Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi, to grant dual citizenship to overseas Indians.

Spokesperson for the campaign and President of Indian Australian Association of NSW Inc, Dr. Yadu Singh said “It’s time that Indian government grants NRIs dual citizenship”.

He further said “There are an estimated 25 million non-resident Indians (NRIs), people of Indian origin (PIOs) and overseas citizens of India (OCIs) spread across more than 200 countries. Cumulatively, they contributed about $70 billion in remittances to India in 2013-14”.

“The recent changes in the PIO and OCI cards announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi are welcome, but they do not meet the long-term demand of dual citizenship by overseas Indians”.

“The overseas citizenship card (OCC) falls well short of genuine dual citizenship. Many of us overseas Indians have been demanding genuine dual citizenship, with full political and economic rights in India on par with the rights enjoyed by Indian citizens. Former attorney general Soli Sorabjee was right in stating in 2005: “If we want to involve the diaspora, then we can’t deny them the right to vote or the right to occupy important office.”

Overseas Indians, whether they hold Indian passports or have foreign passports, have an emotional bond with India. That holds true for a majority of people of Indian heritage. When major democratic and developed countries like USA, Canada, UK and Australia have no issue with dual citizenship, there can’t be a real justification for India to treat its own people unfavourably.

The promise of dual citizenship was made by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2003. Since then there have been statements from senior politicians about them favouring dual citizenship. But the matter has not progressed further. Statements are not enough. The following actions should be taken: 1. Granting Indian passports (dual citizenship) to overseas citizens of Indian heritage with full political and economic rights 2. Granting of convenient voting rights to such dual passport-holding overseas Indians as well as overseas Indians with Indian passports (NRIs), which can be exercised either at the consulate, high commission or embassy premises in their country of residence and through postal or online facilities.

India should consider taking a cue from Australia’s repeal of Section 17 of the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 that took effect from April 2002 permitting dual citizenship.

Dr Singh also said “It is important for second and subsequent generations of Indians, besides first generation, to stay emotionally and politically connected with India. Dual citizenship will make it more likely that this will happen”.

Prime Minister Modi has the political capital, strength in the Parliament and the goodwill for/from the overseas Indians, who supported him massively, to get the Parliament to grant dual citizenship to Overseas Indians.

The campaign has just started from Australia. It has created great excitement in Indian community. It is gaining momentum and it will get enthusiastic support from Indian diaspora all over the world, particularly United States of America, Canada, UK and Australia. It will continue to be run until India sees merits in granting dual citizenship.

Dr. Singh said “I will make an appeal to PM Modi personally if there is an opportunity to meet him”.

Appeal is run via Change.org (https://www.change.org/p/the-honorable-sri-narendra-modi-appeal-to-grant-dual-citizenship-to-overseas-indians and Social media (www.facebook.com/IndianDualCitizenship)

Further comment: Dr Yadu Singh, dryadusingh@gmail.com +61 413 375 669

Sign the petition for Dual Citizenship for Overseas Indians

Dual Citizenship

Please SIGN this petition below and FORWARD it to others in your network.

https://www.change.org/p/the-honorable-sri-narendra-modi-appeal-to-grant-dual-citizenship-to-overseas-indians

Please visit this Faceook page on Dual Citizenship for Overseas Indians and “Like” it. Please share it.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/IndianDualCitizenship

Indian Diaspora is requested to SIGN the petition and JOIN in the campaign.

Thank  you on behalf of Indian Dual Citizenship Campaign

Yadu Singh/Saturday/8th Nov, 2014/Sydney, Australia

indiandualcitizenship@gmail.com

http://www.Facebook.com/IndianDualCitizenship

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