“…I do not think it (the incidents of violence against Indians) is taken seriously at the highest levels,” Flanagan said at a function here Wednesday night.
The activist author was engaged in a public conversation with Australian Deputy High Commissioner to India Lachlan Strahan at the India Habitat Centre.
He said the Australian leadership should set an example that violence will not be tolerated.
“I remember growing up respecting and being interested in other cultures,” Flanagan said. “Our society seemed to have switched to a bad public culture of politicians and media figures.”
Many of the questions from the audience were related to these attacks which have taken place in Melbourne, the capital of Australia, in the recent years.
Strahan has been deputy high commissioner since February 2009, around the time the assaults started.
Although Australia was a dynamic multicultural society, which includes 400,000 people of Indian origin, there have been “surges of crime” in the Melbourne, he said.
“We do need to be careful to the claims of the media,” said Strahan, referencing how the media previously framed the issue in Australia. “We must interrogate the stories that are out there and Flanagan does this through [his new novel] ‘The Unknown Terrorist’.”
Flanagan said that although there is hope for the cultural acceptance of Indian national, “most of Australia is blind to it”.