Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) State Senator David Shoebridge, who has earlier spoken out against the threat posed by far-right Hindu organisations, has raised the issue in NSW State assembly.
“How did Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), right-wing Hindu organisation that is considered a military extremist religious organisation by the CIA, find themselves in New South Wales public schools?” Shoebridge said.
“Are these neo-Nazi groups on the government’s radar, and if so, what is going to be done about it,” he asked during a meeting with State Senator Geoff Lee, the Acting Minister for Sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans held on March 5.
He said: “The most recent attack that I’ve heard of, which was again at Harris Park and again as recently as Sunday night, was where four young men from the Sikh community were celebrating. In fact, they got a new car, and then it was smashed. They were stopped on the street, and it was smashed. In the course of the assault, I understand, that the assailants identified the reason they were smashing was because of the occupants being from the Sikh community. And it came from a far-right extremist political position.”
“I have not seen a single report of a violent act coming from any part of the political spectrum from the Indian community other than the extremist, right-wing Hindu nationalist part of the community,” he noted.
“Sometimes, being the champion of harmony in the community involves naming and calling out extremist elements that are tearing down that harmony in the community, and general platitudes may not be the best response if the violence and the aggression is coming from a known source,” he added.
Shoebridge was referring to an incident in which a group of four young Sikh men were attacked after leaving a restaurant at night on February 28. Their car was surrounded by approximately a dozen assailants — whom the victims identified as Indians — and smashed with baseball bats, hammers, and even an axe. One victim identified at least one of the attackers as a participant in the allegedly RSS-BJP sponsored car rally from two weeks earlier.
Incidentally, the attack came hours after Shoebridge had raised the issue outside the Indian Consulate in Sydney at a press conference called by the Australian Alliance Against Hate and Violence to raise awareness about the rising threat to the country’s social cohesion posed by far-right Hindu extremism.
“We’re here today to not only show solidarity with those farmers in India and the communities in India that are standing up against an increasingly right-wing, intolerant Modi government, but we’re also standing here today to show solidarity with the diaspora in Sydney,” he had said.
“There have already been too many incidents of far-right extremist violence, particularly against the Sikh community in western Sydney,” he had warned.
@ShoebridgeMLC of @nsw_upperhouse grills New South Wales's Acting Minister for Multiculturalism @GeoffLeeMP about recent attack on local Sikhs (allegedly by Hindutva elements), spread of Hindu nationalist sentiment, & religious education by VHP-Australia in public schools. pic.twitter.com/DVrmqi6Bp2
— Pieter Friedrich (@FriedrichPieter) March 5, 2021
“We’re seeing the Sikh temple being attacked by right-wing Hindu extremists. Well, we are calling it out today and saying that must end. It has no place in a successful and vibrant multicultural society like Australia. And we’re saying to those other politicians: it doesn’t matter what party you’re from, it doesn’t matter if you’re local, state, or federal — when you see that kind of right-wing, intolerant violence on the streets of Sydney, call it out, name it, and stand with the communities that are under attack,” Shoebridge had said.