Kolkata: It was an experience which left Krishna Kumar, a marketing professional who had moved to Australia only 14 months back with his family, a bitter taste in the mouth. Having migrated to Sydney after working in Dubai for 15 years, it was Kumar’s dream to watch an India-Australia Test match — and things were going well till his visit to the ground on the third day.
“I saw the racist side of Australia for the first time that day at the ground,” said Kumar, 42, who was sitting with an Australian friend in the same stand where the troublesome group of home supporters were present. Giving an eyewitness account to Gulf News over extended audio messages, Kumar said that while he did not specifically hear words like ‘monkey’ or ‘brown dog,’ there were enough expletives with racist connotations.
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“I was present on the ground on first, third and fifth days. While the first day was uneventful, there were a group of five to six Australian fans on the third day whose intention seemed to be spoiling for a fight. They called (Ajinkya) Rahane a sucker when he was batting and addressed the Indian team as curry-munchers, which is certainly seen as a racial abuse,” said Kumar. “An Indian fans’ group, who call themselves Fans of India, seated closer to us got into a heated argument with them and for a while, it was quite an uneasy atmosphere for me and my friend,” he recalled.
“At one point, Mohammed Siraj was fielding close to us in the deep and I could hear the group uttering a profanity about his mother. For the first time during my stay in Australia, I could see this racist side,” Kumar admitted.
In an attempt to do his bit against such an unsavoury act, Kumar said he prepared a few handwritten posters and wanted to display them when he landed up at the Sydney Cricket Ground next on the fifth day (Monday) when the match ended in a draw. “One of my posters said, Rivalry is good, racism is not, while a second one read,’ Brown Inclusion Matters #BIM’. I was stopped at the gate and routinely frisked for the contents of my handbag which had the Indian flag as well the posters. The content of my second poster met with strong disapproval from the supervisor and I was told that they would not be allowed into the ground,” Kumar said.
“However, having paid for a premium seat and an interesting day’s play on hand, I was bent on entering the ground. After I dropped off these things in my car and went back, I was frisked thoroughly and a racial profiling was done. When I tried to reason with them about the posters, one of the officials said if you want to address these kind of issues, go back to where you came from,” he added.