Another Indian attacked, Australia promises action (Lead)

June 8th, 2009 - 7:35 pm ICT by IANS  

By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, June 8 (IANS) Another Indian student was found unconscious and bleeding after being attacked here, making him the 11th victim in a month of alleged racial attacks in Australia. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith Monday said the attacks on Indians will be taken “very, very seriously”.

The Age newspaper reported that Kamal Jit, 23, was attacked Saturday night while walking home from St. Albans railway station in the suburb of Victoria.

This was the second attack in two weeks on Jit, who was previously pelted with eggs by masked men after getting off a late night train.

In the latest attack, Jit was walking home at about 1.40 a.m. when he noticed three suspicious men and tried to avoid them. He saw two men come out of a pizza shop while another waited in a car.

“The two guys pushed me to the ground and I was hit over the head, I think with a steel rod,” the newspaper quoted Jit as saying.

He was found unconscious and bleeding by another Indian student walking home, the newspaper reported.

Jit, who required seven stitches after the blow to his head, said he did not want to live in St. Albans any longer. “It is very bad because we pay a lot of money and we are living far away from our country and from our families and we are without protection,” he said.

Foreign Minister Smith meanwhile said that the attacks on Indian students would be taken very seriously and Australia was “committed to taking its relationship with India to the front rank of bilateral partnership”.

“We are taking the attacks on Indian students very, very seriously and we condemn all of the terrible incidents which have occurred. We are working very closely with the relevant state governments and also very closely with the Indian community, both in Australia and working very closely with the Indian government through our high commission in India,” Smith said.

Smith said: “It is very important, where people have information or evidence or are the victims of attacks, they are reported to the police. That’s a very important part of the process.”

The latest attack happened at around the same time as an Indian student’s car was torched in Melbourne Saturday night by suspected drug addicts.

Vikrant Rajesh Ratan, 22, told police that his car and two other cars belonging to Indians in the apartment complex where he lives were burnt by some drug addicts whom he had refused to give money.

“They asked me for money, but I refused them. Next night they burnt my car because of that,” Ratan said.

The Age quoted Ratan saying that he was “very, very scared”.

The spate of attacks on Indians have received huge media attention in India threatening Australia’s image as a prominent study destination for students.

Education is Australia’s third largest export industry worth more than AU$16 billion a year, with about AU $2 billion coming from Indian students.

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