Australia announced the temporary restrictions on passenger flights and imposing the travel bans on its citizens or residents who are in India since 15th April and want to return to their home country and is facing immense criticism as this move is considered to be racist. And if anyone doesn’t follow these rules will have to pay civil penalties of hefty amounts and imprisonment.
This ban began on Monday 3rd May, and will continue till 15th May as India is struggling with the surge of cases from the past few days and hospitals are also facing the issue of lack of oxygen problems. It is estimated that are around 9000 Australians in India and 600 are considered vulnerable so this move was necessary.
This move was announced by Health Ministry after discussions with National Cabinet and said such a step is taken in order to ensure the safety of Australia and hence it is keeping a check on coronavirus spread as India is facing extreme cases. This is the first time that Australia is taking a huge step for criminalizing its citizens to return to their native country.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said that anyone who will not follow the rules will have to pay the hefty amount of up to 66000 Australian dollars($51,800), approx. 37,65,661.50 INR or will be jailed for 5 years or both and the government will reconsider this decision on 15th May.
India’s death count crossed 2,00,000 this week and the number of cases are estimated to be around 19.1 million as severe new strain of virus have been added with “super-spreader” events such as political rallies and religious festivals.
The move of imposing restrictions has faced strong disapproval from Australia’s Indian community, human rights groups and even some members of government itself. Indian communities are seeing this a racist policy and said that we are being treated different than people from other countries such as US ,UK and Europe who are also facing similar waves of infection. “It is very hard to feel anything other than treated as an ethnic group.”
Human Rights advocated that it is more necessary that government should emphasized on fixing its proper quarantine system rather banning its citizens from India. Matt Canavan, an Australian Senator tweeted that “We should be helping Aussies in India return not jail them”.
Federal Green Senator Mehreen Faruqi also said that measures are absolutely “horrific and racist” and Andrew Bolt ,Conservative Newspaper columnist said the “policy was so mean and irrational that I must also blame criticism”.
The threat of jail time for stranded Australians who try to return home from India is absolutely horrific and racist. Its announcement in the middle of the night was completely offensive.
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) May 1, 2021
Australian Government- Not to be blamed for following Racist Policy
Australian PM Scott Morrison retaliated on accusation of racism by saying “There’s no politics or ideology in pandemic…It’s got nothing to do with politics, this is a virus”. And this decision has been taken in the “best health interests of Australia”. These measures are being taken keeping in view the medical advice.
Previously anyone from International journey who arrived in Australia had to follow strict quarantine of 14 days mostly in hotels but now with the intensifying cases from India has made it difficult for the quarantine system to handle so many people. Hotels don’t have much capacity to provide quarantine so many people. It is necessary to ease the pressure.
Michael Slater condemns Australian PM Scott Morrison and remarks as “Blood on your hands”
Former cricketer Michael Slater is not happy with this move of PM restricting its citizens to return to its native country from India amid the IPL 2021 season and censured him immensely by saying Blood, on your hands.
It was said by Staler when Australian PM said that there would be no special arrangement of flights for cricketers from India who are the part of Indian Premier League (IPL 2021). And this announcement was made by PM when Australian batsman Chris Lynn who is the part of Mumbai Indians has requested for charter flights for cricketers after the 14th of tournament gets over. To this Slater tweeted the following.
If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It's a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out quarantine system. I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect
— Michael Slater (@mj_slats) May 3, 2021
PM Morrison on Slater Remark
But again PM retreated to this statement, “Blood on your hands” by labelling it as ‘absurd’. This step is necessary in order to provide more safety and security from pandemic and preventing the third wave in Australia.