India concerned about safety of its students in Australia

May 23rd, 2008 - 9:11 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) Concerned about their safety, India has taken up with the Australian authorities the issue of security of Indians studying in educational institutions there. Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told reporters Friday that he had taken up with the Australian authorities the recent incidents of attacks on Indian students, mostly late at night in train stations in Sydney.

The minister said he had taken up the matter with Australian High Commissioner John McCarthy at that time. “Our high commission had also been in touch (with students and Australian authorities) there,” he said.

Last month, there also had been a couple of cases of stabbing of taxi drivers in Melbourne, most of whom are Indian students working part-time.

Many of the taxi drivers had lodged a sit-down protest in the middle of the city asking for better safety measures.

Ravi said he had also taken up with the Australian authorities the case of Indian students working overtime.

“The students are allowed to work 20 hours a week. So, some Indian students were arrested for working more than that. I had spoken earlier in connection with that,” said Ravi, who is also the union parliamentary affairs minister.

There are about 12,000 Indian overseas students enrolled in various universities in Melbourne and many of them drive taxis part-time to support themselves and meet the increasing cost of living.

Ravi demurred from classifying these attacks as simple crime or racist attacks saying: “I would rather look at them as issues of safety for Indian students”.

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