Student attacks not racial Indian journalists on funded trip say

June 28th, 2009 - 6:43 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

A group of seven journalists from India on an Australian government funded trip have said they do not believe recent attacks on Indian students were racially motivated.

The move is the latest damage control effort by the Australian government to stem international criticism after Indian students appeared to have been targeted in violent assaults in Sydney and Melbourne in recent weeks.

Roli Srivastava from The Times of India, said, “I think there’s a huge concern for Indian students, so what we are reporting from here would be of great importance, as in it would at least lay to rest some doubts that Indians would be having right now about every student being attacked.”

Ms. Srivastava says she does not believe Australia is a racist country.

“I haven’t got that impression,” she said.

“After speaking to various officials and students, and even those supporting students, I don’t think that anybody is saying that Australia is racist.

“Just that the attacks do seem to end with a racist slur and abuse or whatever, but I don’t think that would qualify as a racist attack.”

Earlier this month both major Australian political parties went into damage control mode over the attacks, condemning those responsible in the Parliament.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promised to bring those responsible for the violence to justice and told Indian Prime Minister Singh, “that the more than 90,000 Indian students in Australia are welcome guests in our country”.

Following the attacks the youth wing of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) burnt effigies of Mr. Rudd outside the Australian High Commission in New Delhi and Indian students in Sydney and Melbourne have staged protest rallies over the assaults.

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