Indian students to hold peace rally on Sunday

The spurt in crimes against Indian students in Sydney and Melbourne has left one battling for life while another is recuperating from a deep stab injury.

The call for the rally came Saturday, a day after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd and urged him to take all steps to ensure the security of Indians in Australia.

FISA, an organisation which "integrates, empowers and represents" Indian students in Australia, said the rally would begin Sunday morning from Royal Melbourne Hospital, where one of the injured students is battling for life, and conclude at Victorian Parliament House.

The rally will end with a candle light vigil in support of the victims of the crimes.
"The purpose is to create an awareness about an increasing number of hate crimes within the state and to promote racial harmony and peace," FISA said in a statement.

It appealed to Australians to support people from different ethnic backgrounds. "We encourage all Victorians to show support for residents of all ethnic backgrounds," it said.
There are over 80,000 Indian students in Australia.

The friends and acquaintances of the 25-year-old Sravan Kumar Theerthala, who was attacked with a screwdriver over the weekend and is admitted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, have expressed their concern over the attacks.

"We are not feeling safe basically in Australia, we are not feeling safe at all," one of them told the Herald Sun.

Another Indian said: "They told us that it is a multicultural country, you know, but after living here for three years, I will just say it is a multi-racism country you know."

Another Indian student Rajesh Kumar sustained burn injuries after a petrol bomb was thrown into his apartment in Sydney. This incident took the number of such assaults in Australia to four in the past three weeks.

Representatives of FISA and National Union of Students (NUS) had met the Indian High Commissioner Sujatha Singh two days ago to discuss the issue.

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