Indian envoy to meet Brumby; Police ask victims to report cases

Indian envoy to meet Brumby; Police ask victims to report cases


Singh would meet Brumby during the weekend after he sought a meeting following her discussion of the crisis with Victorian Governor General Quentin Bryce last week, sources said, without giving details.
Singh had in her meeting with Bryce applauded the role of police in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, but said Victoria was taking too long to respond and was in a state of "denial" over the severity of attacks.
Her remarks prompted Brumby to seek a meeting with her again to assure that his government was doing all it could to stop the attacks. They had met last month also.
"I'll be able to inform her of all of these things and reassure her that Victoria is a much safer place than other places in Australia and indeed around the world," Brumby said.
There have been over 100 instances of attacks on Indians, most of them students, in Australia since last year. 21-year-old Nitin Garg, who was stabbed to death on January 2, was the first victim of such attacks this year.
Meanwhile, Victorian police commissioner Simon Overland said Indian students, particularly men working as taxi drivers and convenience stores attendants, were over-represented as victims of robberies rather than permanent residents.

Overland asked the Indian community to trust police and come forward to report any assault they face in the state.
The Victorian police's chief commissioner, addressing  an International students' safety forum here, said permanent resident Indians were not being attacked at a higher rate than the rest of the general public, AAP reported.
"Undoubtedly, some of what we are seeing is racist. There is no denying that, I've never denied it, I have never walked away from that," he said.
However, he said "the standing Indian population doesn't live in those high risk areas, they don't necessarily use public transport."
Overland also urged international students to go to the police if they experience problems. "I know there are issues of trust but if you don't tell us, if you're not prepared to come forward and tell us, then there is little that we can actually do about it," he said.
Against the backdrop of the attacks on Indians, Australian Government was also planning to make changes in its skilled migration programme that would delink permanent residency with trade occupations such as hair-dressing and cookery.
Immigration Minister Chris Evans will announce the new rules on Monday that will include amendments to the "migration occupations in demand" list, which awards points to migrants applying to work in areas like hair-dressing and cookery, The Age reported.

Overland also told the forum that crime on Melbourne's rail network was falling. "The level of robberies on the rail network is down. The problem then moved to the railway stations ... in areas where Indian students are living."
"Now the pattern that we're seeing is that robberies are occurring within about a three-kilometre radius of certain railway stations where there is a concentration of Indian students and other international students."
Overland said that police planned to flood the public transport system from next month, with the establishment of an Operations Response Unit.
He said Indian students attending private colleges were often vulnerable due to a lack of support from college operators.
"I don't think there has been enough thought around how and in what circumstances students come to this country, how they're supported when they're here, what rights they have when they're here and how we make sure that their experience of this country is as positive as we can make it," Overland said.
"It's where the Commonwealth government, the state government and others need to really step in and do their bit just as much as I think the private colleges do need to be held more to account about the way they care for students."

Australia India Society of Victoria (AISV) Vice President Manjula O'Connor pointed out that the fear of being attacked was growing now in the community.
"People, in fact, are now fearful of going out. The Indian people are fearful of going out," she said, adding "the fear is spreading across the community."
O'Connor, who is a psychiatrist, referred a case involving a patient who was attacked in his Sunshine home. She said that when he went to the police, the constable did not even take down his details.
"There is this feeling amongst the Indian community that there is a cover-up going on," O'Connor said.
Australian Federation of International Students President Wesa Chau said in many instances attacks were not reported due to victims' mistrust of police.

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