Australia’s Indian community is divided over WA premier McGowan’s comments that going to India for wedding or funerals is not necessary.
There has been outrage in the Australian-Indian community over the Western Australian and Federal Government’s handling of the latest COVID-19 outbreak in the state. They have expressed concerns over how the WA Premier Mark McGowan has spoken about the wedding of a man who is at the centre of the latest COVID-19 outbreak in WA.
According to a report published in The West Australian last week, the man had travelled to India to get married in December 2020. He later tested positive for the virus in hotel quarantine on his return to Perth in April.
In a press conference, Premier McGowan took a shot at the Federal Government, slamming its decision to allow the man to leave Australia for India during the pandemic.
“It was not his fault that it spread across the corridor. But the fact of the matter is the Commonwealth let him go to India recently,” Mr McGowan said.
“People have gone over there…for weddings, funerals, or to play sport, and I don’t think that was necessary.”
Perth-based Anumita Das says Premier McGowan’s comments are somewhat inappropriate.
“In our culture, a wedding is a religious ceremony performed in the presence of the whole family. So by saying that going overseas for funerals or wedding is not essential, Mr McGowan conveys his lack of cultural understanding,” Ms Das told NRI Affairs.
However, there are many Australians of Indian origin who agree with Mr McGowan.
Perth-based Sunil Choudhary says this is the worst crisis we have ever faced and need to take extreme care of.
“People who have travelled in the midst of a global pandemic for weddings and festivals are irresponsible and selfish people. I can understand deaths in the families, or relatives with terminal illnesses, but this attitude is ill-considered. We have already seen what damage this virus can cause to people, families and communities,” Mr Choudhary told NRI Affairs
A few days after the press conference, Australia announced a travel ban to and from India, at least until 15 May.