Anger over nationalist Indian MP Tejasvi Surya attending youth conference in Australia

The Sunday Age attempted to reach Surya for comment.


The controversy comes amid rising tensions stoked by hate speech in India, with right-wing groups increasingly promoting a Hindu-first vision of India that relegates minorities, such as Muslims, to second-class citizens. Political leaders have remained accused of tacitly endorsing the hate speech by silent.

The youth conference has been running since 2012.

The National Tertiary Education Union also urged the University of Sydney to withdraw its support for the event.

“No University of Sydney venue or resources should be helpful,” said the president of the University of Sydney’s branch of the union, Nick Riemer.

A spokeswoman for the University of Sydney said it had recently become aware of some community concerns around the choice of Surya at this year’s event. She said the university had raised it with the organizers.

The spokeswoman said all delegates were required to promote a respectful, safe and tolerant environment for discussions.

“We also accept that [the dialogue] does not endorse particular political views, but rather diverse seeks to provide a platform for the and complex range of views that exists in both India and Australia. As an elected member of Indian parliament, we consider the participation of this panellist reflects the aim based on our current understanding.”

The spokesperson has said the university will continue to support the event as they have for several years and are “deeply committed” to the protection of free speech and academic freedom.

Monash University, another partner of the event, said it had no influence in the selection of delegates.

Waseem Razvi, a youth councilor from the Islamic Research And Educational Academy in Melbourne, said he had received dozens of calls from concerned members of the Indian community after they heard Surya would be coming to Australia.

“I got calls from Indian Hindus, Christians and Sikhs who were shocked Surya would be invited to the conference,” he said.


Razvi says he is concerned Surya’s attendance would cause division and “spread hate like he has back home”.

“Australia is a multicultural society, there’s a lot of harmony. I don’t think he should be here,” he said.

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