Australian Minister Admits Racist Attacks as a “Problem”

Describing attacks on Indian students as a “problem, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has given an assurance that the government would do all it can to stop recurrence of the violence.

“We have a particular current problem with Indian students,” Smith said.

“We’re doing everything that we can, both with the Indian community in Australia and India itself … but also working very closely with the relevant state authorities,” he said.

Australian daily Sydney Herald reported that the minister’s statement came following outrage and concern in India on the alleged racist attacks on Indian students.

At diplomatic level, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already had a telephonic conversation with Australian premier Kevin Rudd urging him to take all possible steps to ensure the security of Indians in Australia.
In response, the Australian government assured India that a number of steps, including increased patrolling and setting up of a hotline, have been taken to ensure the safety of over 80,000 Indian students in the country.

Smith highlighted that Australia was trying to bring the attackers to justice and ensure a safe environment for all international students.

Four attacks have taken place on Indian students. While a petrol bomb was thrown at an Indian student in Sydney last Sunday, three attacks took place in Melbourne.

One student, Sravan Kumar Theerthala, who was attacked in Melbourne last Sunday with a screwdriver, is battling for life at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Another student Baljinder Singh was stabbed outside a railway station. He is recuperating at home. A third student, Sourabh Sharma, was viciously assaulted in a train May 9.

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