Monday, January 25, 2021

UPDATES: Indian community condemns Harris Park brawl

Reading Time: 4 minutes

UPDATE Sep 3: The Indian community in Australia has largely indicated satisfaction at the police’s quick action in apprehending the miscreants of a recent brawl on the streets of Harris Park NSW.

However, the immediate response of the community on Indian Link’s social media showed a no-tolerance approach to the brawlers, reminding all that religion, regionalism and related differences carried over from India have no place here in Australia.

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The lament that the youth had put their own futures in jeopardy was also common – given the punishment that would accrue and the police record that would stick to their names.

Regarding the punishment itself, the discussion centred on the “harsh” penalty, as many failed to comprehend the police spokesperson’s comment of “up to ten years’ jail”.

Perhaps more sobering was the police’s suggestion that more arrests could be possible as the investigation continues.

Harris Park Business leaders

UPDATE Sep 2: Police are actively pursuing leads and looking to make more arrests over the Harris Park brawl that took place on Saturday night.

The Crime Manager at Parramatta Police Area Command Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnes confirmed that the investigation would further progress after looking at CCTV footage from the night.

“More arrests are possible in due course,” he told Indian Link.

“I also urge the community who wish to report any matter to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, all information will be treated confidentially. The police are grateful to all the community members who are helping us with our investigations so we can make Harris Park a safe area for all to enjoy,” Detective Chief Inspector Barnes said.

UPDATE Sep 1: The Parramatta Police have confirmed that the two men arrested in connection with the brawl have been granted conditional bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday 7 October 2020.

Police promise to bring the full force of the law on the ring leaders of the brawl from last week.

In  a late night meeting between local business owners from Harris Park and representatives of the Parramatta Police Area Command, the police said that they have thrown considerable resources into fully investigating what happened in the lead up to the brawl, and on the night itself.

On the night of Friday 28 August, some 200 Indians gathered in Harris Park and a fight organised on social media descended into a full brawl. Video vision of half a dozen rioters with cricket bats and iron rods have since been circulating on social media. The riot squad was brought in to disperse the crowds.

The fight broke out when a group of Haryanvis clashed with a group of Punjabis in an organised brawl following a quarrel that ensued over an argument on TikTok. While there is a theory that this was a fight of young people over turf war, the issue has also emerged that this could have a more insidious element of anti-national elements of Khalistan creating social disharmony. Sources have also claimed that certain people from Melbourne were involved in setting up this brawl which had more sinister anti-India motives.

Chief Inspector Jason Donald from Parramatta LAC has said that the police are looking at all the evidence from the night.

“Not only have a large number of videos and other information been sent to our Crime Stoppers department, the Parramatta Council has high definition CCTV installed in the area where the brawl took place. We are in the process of gathering all the information and we will be able to apply facial recognition facilities to bring all those involved to justice.”

Harris Park Business leaders with police
Harris Park Business owners Gurmeet Tulli, Kamal Singh and Karan Parmar with Chief Inspector Jason Donald from Parramatta Police Area Command.

He also sent out two clear messages.

“To those involved, I want to say that we will make sure that we enforce the law against (miscreants). Inciting violence and participating in such riots is a very serious crime in Australia which can even lead to a jail term. If there are any issues in this incident which were hate-based, this would have dire consequences for those involved. For any deluded young men, breaking the law can have lifelong implications. For any international students who may need future police clearance for any of their official paperwork, it will not be possible to get one if they have a police record.”

Chief Inspector Jason Donald’s second message was to the Harris Park community.

“I want to say to the Harris Park community in particular, that you have our support. We will work with the local business community to make sure Harris Park is a safe and a family friendly area. I personally have attended many events there and it is wonderful to note the exuberance in the community.”

Harris Park Business leaders led by Gurmeet Tulli have requested for more patrols of the area and help in creating a safe experience for all those visiting Harris Park.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Little India reaches out to the needy

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Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

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