Recent revelations on voter registration for the Super City elections have created a storm of protests and seriously compromised the image of people of Indian origin.
It will continue to hound the community for many years and some will suffer the derision and taunts longer, just because of a few deviant and dishonest people.
The accuracy of the electoral roll rests at the heart of democratic elections. New Zealand has a proud record in holding free and fair democratic elections and the alleged irregularities have hurt the feelings of all right-thinking New Zealanders.
The Police are pursuing the case and will bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice. Accuracy of the electoral rolls should not be compromised.
The media and talkback hosts on radio have come out strongly against the perpetrators. The Indian community has not escaped the backlash.
Suddenly, a community recognised for its entrepreneurship, hard work and making a positive impact on the social, economic and cultural fabric of New Zealand is at the receiving end.
The people involved have invited anger, bitterness and hatred against the very community to which they had a duty to protect and promote. Sadly, it is the work of a few greedy and selfish people who have shamed a community.
Although we cannot speculate, indications are that people of Indian origin are behind the crime. Such tempering of the electoral rolls and voters is unacceptable and abhorred in New Zealand. Practices that defile democracy have no place in our country.
Transgressors should come out publicly, admit their crimes and help the community to rebuild its tarnished and tattered image. Not to do so is tantamount to defense of the indefensible.
We must not forget that most of us, as immigrants, came to this country by choice and not by invitation or persuasion by the host nation. We are grateful to New Zealand for giving us the opportunity to be citizens of this beautiful country.
Rights to citizenship come with obligations that must be observed and upheld, ensuring that the image of this nation as a bastion of democracy remains intact.
We share the pain and anguish of a majority of our people who view such practices with abomination.
The truth is that these so-called champions have suddenly emerged, driven not by sincere desire to serve or strengthen democracy in New Zealand but, on the contrary, to benefit from the power and perks and opportunities to engage in shady operations.
If there were no money paid to the elected representatives, the so-called champions would not have emerged from their burrows.
We appeal to the authorities to bring the perpetrators to bear the full force of the justice system and ensure that the punishment befits the crime.
We also appeal earnestly to the members of the immigrant community to leave their political ambitions behind and seek election to a public office only after they have sufficiently assimilated and imbibed the social, cultural and political values of New Zealand and are prepared to render their services observing, abiding and defending such values.
Anything less is simply not acceptable.
As a person of Indian origin, I am deeply ashamed of the voter registration debacle.