Outrage in Oxford at attacks in Australia

June 1st, 2009 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Facebook London, June 1 (IANS) Indian students at Oxford University Monday joined in the growing protests over racist attacks on their counterparts in Australia, saying they are “baffled” by the failure of Australian authorities to take stern measures.
“Indian students at the University of Oxford strongly deplore the violent attacks on students in Australia. We are very shocked to learn that such acts of violence against the Asian students have been frequent in the recent past,” said Aadya Shukla, president of the Oxford University Indian Society.

“I am completely baffled that Australian authorities have failed to take stronger measures to stop such incidents from happening. Given that education is the third largest export industry for Australia, it is even more puzzling.”

A large numbers of Indian students at Oxford and other universities across Britain have reportedly been registering their protest on the Internet and plan to send a letter to the Australian High Commissioner in Britain this week to express outrage.

A Facebook group set up by Shukla in support of Indian students in Australia has drawn messages of solidarity from not only Indians, but also Australian, European and British students.

“Each of these messages conveyed the same thought that the young people around the world do not condone of such dastardly acts of racial hatred,” Shukla said.

“I must add that we were disappointed to see that the regular UK media failed to report this incident - despite a huge Asian population in the UK. We got to know about this incident only through the Indian media.”

Shukla told IANS attacks are not limited to Indians - a 21-year-old Bangladeshi undergraduate student in Australia had complained of racist threats and “last year her body washed up on the shore.”

“These attacks on Asian students are not one-off events. Australian citizens and authorities must take positive action to stop a few racist groups from marring the image of their nation as a whole.

“If a single Australian tourist is attacked in India, it becomes a huge issue, but it takes the blood of many Indian students for the Australian authorities to spring into action.

“In the current recessive climate, apathy is definitely not an option for Australian government.”

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