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Put Victims First: Retailers Move Parliament

AIRA is also planning a hunger strike in the coming weeks to further press the government for action

Retailers upset over safety concerns have petitioned the Parliament in the hope that victims of crime can secure more support. 

The Auckland Indian Retailers Association (AIRA) has launched a petition titled "Changes in Legislation to Stop Young Offender’s Crime in NZ," aimed at the New Zealand Parliament. This initiative follows the violent attack on Gurdeep Singh, a 50-year-old Kiwi-Indian and owner of Pooja Jewellers, during a robbery attempt in Papatoetoe.

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"We have launched a hybrid petition, available both online and in physical form for those unfamiliar with digital signatures," said Jagjeet Singh Sidhu, General Secretary of AIRA.

The petition, officially launched today, was taken to the Gurudwara Sahib for blessings during Ardas.

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It highlights five key areas: Harsher Sentences, Mandatory Rehabilitation Programs, Enhanced Support for Victims, Community Engagement and Prevention, and Accountability and Monitoring.

"The recent surge in criminal activities involving juveniles has raised serious concerns within our communities, threatening public safety and the well-being of law-abiding citizens," the petition states.

It urges policymakers to "discuss, deliberate, and implement more stringent legislation for juvenile offenders," with a significant focus on "Enhanced Support for Victims" to help them recover from trauma and rebuild their lives.

The online petition has been submitted, and AIRA members are awaiting its clearance and listing on the Parliament website for public signatures.

"We expect a response on the online petition soon," said Sidhu, noting that the physical petition has already garnered over 100 signatures.

"Our goal is to reach 5,000 signatures within two months," Sidhu told The Indian Weekender.

Once the signature mark is complete, the association members will approach a Member of Parliament to move the petition forward.

AIRA is also planning a hunger strike in the coming weeks to press the government further for action.

On July 2, 2024, local Kiwi-Indian business owners organised a peaceful protest on East Tamaki Road, Papatoetoe, in response to escalating violent crime and growing fears. They called for stricter measures against youth offenders.

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