Thousands of Australians, including Victorian Premier John Brumby, on Wednesday treated themselves to Indian cuisine like naan and tandoori chicken as they joined a mass dining event to protest attacks against Indians.
Brumby joined a few leading Indian community members like Primus Telecom chief Ravi Bhatia for lunch at Indian restaurant 'Desi Dhaba' in the up-market Flinders street. The mass dining is part of the Vindaloo Against Violence' campaign launched as a reaction to a spate of attacks against Indians across the city.
Brumby said the response from Victorians to the initiative demonstrated the community's commitment to express its solidarity with Indians and celebrate multiculturalism.
"The 'Vindaloo against Violence' initiative is an unique opportunity for Victorians to unite and send a message that the actions of an ignorant few will not be allowed to undermine the reputation of Melbourne as a peaceful and friendly city," he said.
Australians, who joined the mass dining event, treated themselves to authentic Indian cuisine like naan, tandoori chicken and chicken tikka. An official statement said the state parliament dinning hall also changed its menu to serve Indian cuisine in support of the event.
The statement said, "This great initiative combines that culinary reputation and uses it to send a message that we do not accept violence against any member of our community."
State government authorities and the Victoria police also expressed their support by thronging Indian restaurants across the city.
Multicultural Liaison officer and leading senior constable Dinesh Nettur said members were keen to get involved and show support for the Indian community.
"We believe this is a simple way for Victorians to say no to all violence and support our vibrant Indian community. Nothing brings a community together like food and Melbourne is home to some of the world's best Indian restaurants," he added.