In Hobart, Tasmania, a Sikh restaurateur, Jarnail ‘Jimmy’ Singh, who has called Australia home for 15 years, is grappling with a disturbing series of racially motivated incidents. Singh, proprietor of ‘Dawat – The Invitation’ restaurant, discovered dog excrement smeared on his car’s door handles for several consecutive days, accompanied by racist letters urging him to “Go home, Indian.”
Expressing the toll this ongoing harassment has taken on him, Singh shared with ABC News on Tuesday, “It’s mentally very stressful when it comes to your house, and particularly (being targeted) with your name on it… It’s too much mental stress. Something has to be done.” Initially assuming the letters were from a young individual, Singh attempted to dismiss them, but the incidents persisted.
Despite alerting the police and installing security cameras on his property, the malicious letters continued to arrive. About a month later, Singh received another letter that escalated in offensiveness, containing remarks like “you can **** off back to India”. The restaurateur is hopeful that action will be taken to address this disturbing pattern of harassment.
Adding to the distressing incidents, Jarnail Singh reported that his car was scratched outside his workplace. Expressing his frustration, Singh emphasised, “This kind of thing has to be stopped. Definitely, we do need a change.”
Responding to the incidents, Tasmania Police Commander Jason Elmer issued a statement confirming that the cases had been reported to the police and were under investigation. Commander Elmer highlighted that current legislation permits courts to take into account racial hatred or prejudice as an aggravating factor in sentencing.
Emphasising the community’s stance against any form of harassment, Commander Elmer stated, “There is no excuse for any form of verbal or physical harassment,” encouraging individuals who believe they have experienced a prejudice-related incident to promptly contact the police.
Aimen Jafri, Chair of the Multicultural Council of Tasmania, conveyed to ABC that incidents akin to Singh’s experiences were unfortunately becoming more common and on the rise. “It’s definitely getting worse at the moment,” she remarked.
In response to the escalating situation, Singh expressed his hope that by sharing his ordeal, he could contribute to preventing others from enduring similar challenges. Following the initiation of a police investigation, Singh took to his social media platform, affirming, “there is no space for racism in our beautiful country, Australia.”
Acknowledging the support he received, Singh extended his gratitude to supporters and customers who stood by him during these difficult times. On Facebook, he wrote on Monday, “I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude for the incredible support I have received in many ways, phone calls, messages, and personal visits to our restaurant just to check on me.”