`Cricketers could mend Australia’s reputation over attacks’

June 4th, 2009 - 3:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, June 4 (IANS) Australia’s cricket captain Ricky Ponting and his team may be able to repair the country’s reputation as a safe place for Indian students, a senate hearing has been told.
West Australian Liberal Chris Back, who’s done business in India, told a senate estimates hearing into education that Australian cricketers could smooth things over, the Herald Sun reported Thursday.

“Do not underestimate the value of cricket in possibly mending these relationships.

“I’m not being flippant. If we do need to mend those bridges do not overlook the value of Australian and Indian cricketers in trying to re-establish that goodwill,” Back said.

Senator Back said he believed Australia was the “second favourite” destination for Indian students after the US.

A day earlier, an Indian student from Gujarat was attacked at the Newport Station in Melbourne.

“He is said to have been attacked with a cricket and baseball bat at around 2 p.m. Another student who witnessed the attack was chased by the offenders,” South Asia Times reported.

The string of assaults on Indian students in Australia has now gone up to seven in over three weeks.

On Tuesday, N. Singh, 21, was attacked by a group of men in suburban Melbourne after they stopped him and demanded cigarettes and money.

Singh, a nursing student at Chisholm College, Dandenong, in Melbourne’s east, was slashed with a box-cutter knife carried by one of five men who confronted him in a car park.

On May 30, Ashish Sood, studying at the Carrik Institute here, was badly beaten up by a group of 15 youngsters. The incident took place at the city’s Chappel Street.

He, along with three others, was attacked by the group “who started teasing and bullying them for nothing and then pounced on them”.

Earlier, there have been four attacks on Indian students in quick succession in Melbourne and Sydney, the two largest cities of Australia. The first took place May 9.

In Melbourne, Sravan Kumar Theerthala, 25, was hit with a screwdriver and is still battling for his life in hospital, Baljinder Singh was robbed and stabbed, and Sourabh Sharma, 21, suffered a fractured cheek bone and a broken tooth. Both had to spend days in hospital.

In Sydney, hospitality graduate Rajesh Kumar received 30 percent burns after a petrol bomb was hurled through the window of his Harris Park home.

The string of attacks on Indian students in this capital of the Victoria province has led the provincial government to push for a plan that would have tougher sentences for hate crimes.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sports |