Indian students face racial abuse in New Zealand city

February 25th, 2009 - 11:12 am ICT by IANS  

Wellington, Feb 25 (DPA) Indian students studying in New Zealand’s southernmost city Invercargill have been targets of racial abuse and called terrorists by local people, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
Four of those targeted are Sikhs who wear turbans, which they said made some ignorant people confuse them with Arabs or Muslims, the Southland Times reported.

One victim, Jasdeep Singh, told the paper he had defied his religious principles and had a haircut to avoid wearing a turban because he feared for his safety.

“I haven’t told my parents yet,” he said. “They will be shocked and quite angry.”

Five students out of a group of 25 who arrived in Invercargill this month to study at the Southern Institute of Technology said they had experienced 16 incidents of racial abuse in the last 12 days.

Jasmail Singh said the abusers, men and women, were generally in their early 20s and the attacks, including calls to leave the country, had put them off walking around the city after dark.

The institute’s business manager, Bharat Guha, said the police had been contacted over the attacks.

Southland police commander Barry Taylor said: “I would be very disappointed if the general community was participating in this sort of thing. I’m confident it’s a small minority.”

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