As the Australian Indian community is growing in numbers, so also are the Australian Indian businesses and employees in such businesses. Every couple of months a new grocery store or a new Indian Restaurant opens up for business as the suburbs grow in Sydney. In addition there are other businesses such as various Travel agencies, 7/11 Stores, Petrol Bunks etc. where Indian community members including International students work tirelessly and practically throughout the year and long hours day or night. The increasing vulnerability of such successful Australian Indian businesses to robberies or other types of crimes is evident from increasing number of incidents in the suburbs of Sydney.
Potential robbers seem to follow new methods of crime such as the recent robbery attempt made at the Sydney’s popular grocery store in the Easter suburbs MGM Spices located in Cleveland Street, Surry Hills on Sunday 20th April around 12.30PM. Two robbers, a male aged 32 and a female aged 27, apparently set their American Staffordshire terrier dog on Monika, daughter of Mr. Vikram Sharma, owner of MGM Spices when she accidentally entered the shop to visit her parents and witnessed the robbers opening the till and trying to take out the money. Monika was injured very badly as the dog bit her arms furiously. Fortunately, onlookers and good Samaritans chased and restrained the robbers and the dog till police arrived. Monika was attended to at St. Vincent’s hospital and subsequently operated upon at Sydney hospital requiring 40 stitches in her hand. This unfortunate robbery episode has left the entire Sharma family and the sales girl Manju who was inside the shop minding her duties, to shock and trauma on the Easter long week end. It was doubly unfortunate as both Vikram Sharma and his son Jagat Sharma were doing community service – just crossing each other minutes away to take turns to manage their community Radio 89.7FM very popularly known as Voice of India running over a very long number of years.
“The entire family still is in shock”. “Thanks to good Samaritans the robbers were caught and nothing worse happened” said Vikram Sharma speaking to The Indian Telegraph. “It was distressing to see Monika with 40 stitches in her hand” said his son Jagat Sharma who also added that “it was very shocking also for Manju, the sales girl on her second working day”. Friends and well-wishers of the Sharma family are extending full support to them to recover from this unfortunate trauma. Moving forward, “there is a strong need to keep an increased watch by the Police on suspected or potential robbers especially the repeat offenders” stated Vikram Sharma.
According to the Australian national media reports the two robbers appeared before court. Investigations are continuing by the Police, while the dog was seized by council authorities.
The Indian Telegraph poses to the readers following questions and leaving to their thoughts.
While common law applies to all communities, should there be more or additional protection for Indian businesses in hot spot areas in consultation with NSW Police?
Should Indian business owners need more support from the community and relevant NSW based agencies when exposed to unfortunate crimes?
How the Indian community organisations can assist the Indian businesses in such unfortunate times? Will establishing a community Trauma Counselling Service offered in Privacy by qualified community volunteers help?
Any other useful suggestions in the interest and welfare of International students working in their spare times in grocery shops, petrol bunks and 7/11 shops?