India calls Australian envoy over attacks on Indian students

May 29th, 2009 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Melbourne, May 29 (IANS) The Indian external affairs ministry Friday called Australian High Commissioner John McCarthy and conveyed its concerns over the allegedly racist attacks on Indian students in Melbourne, the second largest city of Australia.
N. Ravi, secretary (east) in the ministry, met the Australian envoy and sought assurance about the safety of Indian students in Australia.

The envoy assured that the state government of Victoria has taken a number of steps to ensure that these attacks do not take place again.

The envoy, however, differed with the growing perception that these attacks were racist in nature. “I have not seen the evidence that they are racist. Australia is a multi-cultural society,” he said.

“Some racism exists in Australia. It’s appalling,” he admitted.

Australian police officers have said these attacks were not driven by racial hostility, but India’s high commissioner in Australia Sujatha Singh said Friday rejected claims from the Australian police that these attacks were not driven by racial hostility.

There would be increased patrols around trouble spots in Melbourne to curb these attacks, she said after meeting the police in Melbourne.

The recent wave of attacks on Indian students in Australia have sparked outrage in India.

The Australian government sprang into action with a series of preventive measures after New Delhi mounted pressure on Canberra this week.

Meanwhile, Sravan Kumar Theerthala, a 25-year-old Indian student who was assaulted Sunday in Melbourne along with three other students, continues to battle for for his life in the intensive care unit in Royal Melbourne Hospital.

India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Wednesday said he was appalled at the incident and asked the Australian authorities to ensure the safety of Indians and bring the culprits to justice.

He also asked the Australian authorities to to ensure that “the student who has been seriously injured receives the best possible treatment and that the authorities ensure that the culprits are brought to book”.

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