New Delhi condemns attacks on Indian students in Australia

May 27th, 2009 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Condemning allegedly “racist” attacks on Indian students in Melbourne, the government Wednesday said it will impress upon the Australian authorities that such attacks should not be permitted and the culprits should be brought to justice.
“I have been appalled by the attack on our students in Melbourne. Our consulate general in Melbourne has been in touch with the students affected and with the state police,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters.

“We will also impress upon the Australian authorities that such attacks should not be permitted and that it is their responsibility to ensure the well-being and security of our students in Australia,” he said.

India’s High Commissioner to Australia Sujatha Singh has rushed to Melbourne to ensure that Sravan Kumar Theerthala, an Indian student who is now battling for his life in the intensive care unit after a racially motivated assault, receives the best possible treatment. The Indian envoy is expected to send a report on the incident to New Delhi in a couple of days.

India will ensure that “that the culprits are brought to book”, Krishna said, while conveying his concern over the latest bout of violence directed against Indians in Australia.

The 25-year-old Theerthala, who went to Melbourne to study two years ago, was among the four students from India assaulted by a group of Australian teenagers this week. The attackers allegedly hurled racist abuses at them and hit them with a screwdriver.

The assault was the latest in a spate of violent attacks on Indian students.

The Australian authorities plan to launch a telephone helpline Friday for Indian students facing discrimination and violence.

Incidents like these can affect the popularity of Australia as an education destination for Indian students.

According to Australian Education International, the enrolment of Indian students in Australian universities showed an increase of 38.9 percent from last year as on March 2009. Australian universities, as of March 2009, had 75,000 Indian students enrolled in various courses.

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