Australian government condemns attacks on Indian studentsJune 1st, 2009 - 6:32 pm ICT by John Le Fevre
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told the Australian Parliament and India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Australian’s deplore and condemn recent attacks on Indian students.
Mr. Rudd said the Government is working with authorities to bring those responsible for the violence to justice.
The comments came just hours after thousands of Indian students staged a protest and hundreds joined a sit-in in the heart of Melbourne to protest what they claim are racially motivated attacks.
Prime Minister Rudd told the Parliament, “I said to Prime Minister Singh that the more than 90,000 Indian students in Australia are welcome guests in our country.”
He also said the Government will work closely with the states and territories “as a matter of urgency” to work on ways to help international students feel safer.
The comments were echoed by Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull, who described the attacks as “profoundly un-Australian“.
“These students are guests in our country and this recent violent behavior has the potential to do great damage to the reputation of Australia as a destination of choice,” he said.
Early this morning police broke up a sit-in by several hundred Indian students; the students had blockaded a major Melbourne intersection outside Flinders Street station overnight in protest against the violence.
Yesterday’s protest was organized by the Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) but this morning FISA spokesman Gautam Gupta said the rally was hijacked by people with their own agenda.
FISA said in a statement on its website the rally aimed to create an awareness about an increasing number of what it called “hate crimes” in Victoria and to promote racial harmony and peace.
“I think absolutely they should have left because we are seeking peace, we are seeking non-violence, and we should be leading by example. And this is no way to lead by example,” he said.
Tags: australian government, australian parliament, australian prime minister, fisa, flinders street, gupta, indian students, international students, kevin rudd, malcolm turnbull, manmohan, manmohan singh, morning police, opposition leader, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, racial harmony, seeking peace, violent behavior, welcome guests