'Go home Indian': Sikh restaurateur racially targeted in Australia

Jarnail 'Jimmy' Singh, who runs 'Dawat – The Invitation' restaurant in Hobart, Tasmania, said he has been continuously targeted for over the last two, three months.

Published: 16th November 2023 12:09 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th November 2023 12:09 PM   |  A+A-

Jarnail 'Jimmy' Singh

Jarnail 'Jimmy' Singh (Left) (Photo | Website)


MELBOURNE: A Sikh restaurateur living in Australia for 15 years, has been left shaken after he found excrement smeared on his car for several days in a row and racist letters that told him, "go home, Indian".

Jarnail 'Jimmy' Singh, who runs 'Dawat – The Invitation' restaurant in Hobart, Tasmania, said he has been continuously targeted for over the last two, three months.

"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," Singh told ABC News on Tuesday.

Singh first assumed the letter had been written by a young person, and did his best to ignore it, according to the report.

Recounting the first incident, he said dog excrement was smeared on the door handles of his car for four or five days in a row, followed by a racist letter in his driveway, telling him "go home, Indian".

While the incidents were brought to the notice of police and video cameras were installed at his property, the spiteful letters continued to arrive.

He told ABC News that the next letter was received about a month later, and it was even more offensive than the first -- including comments like "you can **** off back to India".

His car was also scratched outside his workplace.

"This kind of thing has to be stopped. Definitely, we do need a change," Singh rued.

Tasmania Police Commander Jason Elmer said in a statement that the incidents had been reported to police and were being investigated.

He said current legislation allowed for courts to "consider that a motivation of racial hatred or prejudice can be an aggravating factor in sentencing".

Commander Elmer said there was "no excuse for any form of verbal or physical harassment" in the community, and that people were encouraged to contact police immediately if they believe they have been the victim of a prejudice-related incident.

Aimen Jafri, the chair of the Multicultural Council of Tasmania, told ABC that incidents like those experienced by Singh were far too common -- and increasing.

"It's definitely getting worse at the moment," she said.

Singh said he hoped speaking out about his experiences could help prevent others from facing anything similar.

After police opened the investigation, Singh took to his social media page and wrote that "there is no space for racism in our beautiful country, Australia".

He also thanked his supporters and customers who "stood with him in hard times".

"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," he wrote on Facebook on Monday.

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