Concrete steps needed to protect Indian students: SC

 A bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari said: “Parents of the Indian students have the legitimate right to voice their concern. We should not sweep the problem under the carpet.”

The court was concerned that attacks on Indian students failed to abate, despite the government’s best effort to stop them through diplomatic channels.

Attorney General Gulam E Vahanvati said Indian students are particularly vulnerable to attacks since they are highly successful in their studies and take up part-time jobs available in the college towns to manage their maintenance.

“The attacks therefore can’t be termed racial,” Vahanvati said. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna are in touch with their respective counterparts in Australia to explore ways of putting an end to the attacks.

Quoting a reply filed by the government, he said: “Australia is considering amending its existing laws to include inciting of violence against individuals based on their race, religion, ethnicity and nationality in the definition of offence.”

Information on the various measures the government has taken is posted on the websites of the ministries of External Affairs, Overseas Indian Affairs and Indian High Commission in Australia, as parents, relatives and friends of those studying in Australia are entitled to learn about the latest situation.

The court has also asked the government to file a status report in two weeks.

Australia has as many as 97,000 students enrolled in its universities, of which at least 1,447 are from India who have been particularly targeted for racial attacks, said D K Garg, a lawyer appearing for the petitioner. India supplies 19 per cent of all foreign students in Australia, second only to China.

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