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Friday, May 7, 2021

Hindus condemn Australia for criminalising coming home

Hindus worldwide have condemned Australia’s announcement of ban on Australian citizens returning home from India; failure to comply with which one may incur a civil penalty of $66,600, five years’ imprisonment, or both. 

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada, USA, on Sunday 2 May, urged Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt, Prime Minister and Health Minister respectively of Australia, to show some maturity and immediately withdraw this questionable and irresponsible decree which appeared to be temporarily making some of its proud citizens “stateless” and abandoning them with no fault of theirs. 

If Australia was so worried about the “worsening COVID-19 situation in India” and considered it a danger zone, it should be sending special flights to evacuate its hard-working tax-paying citizens from India helping them to get home, who had made lot of contributions to the nation and society. Moreover, Morrison and Hunt should issue a formal apology for such a never-heard-before discriminatory plan which seemed to have racial undertones belittling an entire community; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated. 

Rajan Zed further said that such a ruling, which declared coming home as illegal resulting in jail time for those trying to flee a so-called danger zone, did not make much sense. Re-entering your country was a basic citizenship right, clearly stated in Article 13 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. 

Somebody needed to remind Australia that we were well into 21st century and Australia needed to move forward and create a “bill of rights” as a high priority so that such outrageous decisions were not made in the future, Zed pointed out. 

As an interfaith gesture, Rajan Zed urged Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president, Mark B Coleridge; Anglican Church of Australia Primate, Geoffrey Smith; Uniting Church in Australia president, Deidre Palmer; and leaders of other religions in Australia to strongly condemn such an ill-conceived ruling which separated the families. 

For more opinion pieces:

COVID-19 cost more in 2020 than the world’s combined natural disasters in any of the past 20 years

Hawkish talk of ‘drums of war’ not in Australia’s interests

To the editor: In defence of trees – an afterthought

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