Student attacks unabated

PM conveys concern to Australian counterpart; 5 teens arrested

Student attacks unabated

In Friday’s fresh incident, 25-year-old Rajesh Kumar suffered 30 per cent burns after a petrol bomb was hurled at him in his home in Sydney.

Concerned over these developments, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh raised the issue with his Australian counterpart amid stepped up diplomatic activities by India which cautioned of its “adverse effect” on the promising sector of education.

Singh, who received a call from Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to congratulate him on assumption of office for a second term, used the opportunity to convey India’s concerns over the attacks on Indian students there.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna pressed for suitable steps to stop such incidents when he received a call from his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith.

Krishna told reporters in Bangalore that “we are worried about the safety of Indian
citizens, particularly students”. At the same time, the Ministry of External Affairs summoned Australian High Commissioner John McCarthy in New Delhi to register India’s concerns and press for concrete steps to stop such incidents. “Our concerns at attacks on Indian students were conveyed suitably in the respective telephonic conversations,” MEA spokesman Vishnu Prakash said.

“It was conveyed to the High  Commissioner that continuing the sense of unease and insecurity for Indian students in Australia can have an adverse effect in a sector that holds much promise. The Australian authorities have conveyed their clear commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of Indian students in Australia,” Prakash said.

Australian authorities are wary of categorising the string of attacks as racial. But they seemed to have acted swiftly, arresting a 17-year-old boy for attempted murder of four Indian students, including 25-year-old Sravan Kumar.

They were attacked by gatecrashers at a party here over the weekend, Victorian police said, adding that another 18-year-old was questioned in relation to the assault, but has since been released.

Kumar, who was stabbed with a screwdriver at the birthday party, remains critical and was still on life support. Police also charged four minors in another case involving the brutal bashing of a 21-year-old Indian student, Sourabh Sharma, on a train on May 9.

Another student Baljinder Singh, stabbed by two attackers early this week, has been discharged from hospital. Singh was attacked near the Carnegie train station by two armed men, who also demanded money from him.

















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