India has summoned Australia's top envoy in the country to express concern over
a series of assaults on Indian students. The incidents are raising diplomatic
tensions between the two countries.
India is expressing outrage over a
number of attacks on its young people studying in Australia.
say there have been at least four such violent incidents in the past month but
the attacks began several years ago and have increased considerably in the last
The minister for overseas Indian affairs, Vayalar Ravi, has met
with the top Australian envoy to express his concern and insist Australia do
more to prevent future attacks.
Australian police say in most cases the
Indian students were at the wrong place at the wrong time and were assaulted by
But a number of Indian media outlets are
labeling Australia a racist country contending Indians are being singled out for
Australia's High Commissioner (Ambassador), John
McCarthy, spoke to reporters following his meeting here with the Indian
"It was clear criminal activity. I have not seen the
evidence that they are racist [attacks] but I wasn't there. I wouldn't discount
it," he said. "Some racism exists in Australia. It's appalling. We condemn it
but we have to face up to the fact."
Australia's foreign minister,
Stephen Smith, spoke on the telephone with his Indian counterpart. Following
that conversation S.M. Krishna told reporters that Smith told him Australia is
promising to protect the well-being of Indians studying there.
assured me no such incident will happen again," said Krishna.
In one of
the latest attacks, 25-year-old Sravan Kumar Theerthala, is in a coma in an
Melbourne hospital. Police say he was stabbed with a screwdriver and three other
students were beaten at a party by a group of locals who had not been invited. A
17-year-old male has been arrested in connection with that
Another attack this week occurred in Sydney where an Indian
student was badly burned after being hit with a petrol bomb.
police say they have arrested four suspects in another incident, caught by
surveillance cameras, in which a 21-year-old was assaulted three weeks ago on a
train by a group of young men.
Indians compose the second-largest group
of overseas students in Australia. In Melbourne alone there are 50,000 Indian
students where police say nearly one third of robbery victims in the city's
western suburbs are Indians.