PM wants talks with Canberra

Attack on Indians: SMK for restraint

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in the Lok Sabha (LS) that he was willing to engage in a high-level dialogue with the Australian government  to take stock of the situation and to ensure adequate security to Indian students across Australia. Replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address to Parliament on June 4 last, the prime minister said that he was appalled by the by the senseless violence and crime.

Singh said that he had already spoken to his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd, who too had condemned and deplored the attacks. “He (Rudd) has assured me that any racist attack against Indian students will be sternly dealt with,” the PM said. During the debate over Motion of Thanks to the President, several LS MPs had expressed concern over the allegedly racist attacks on the Indian students in Australia.

The Leader of Opposition L K Advani had asked the government to send a parliamentary delegation to Australia to take stock of the situation.

The CPM MP Gurudas Dasgupta had demanded a statement from the government on the actions taken by it in the wake of the recent spate of attacks. The PM was responding to the MPs’ remarks on Tuesday.

‘Exercise restraint’

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told journalists outside the Parliament that the Indian students in Australia should exercise restraint and concentrate on studies for which they had gone there.

Krishna said that he was concerned over the reports on retaliatory strikes by the Indians in Australia, who had apparently formed groups to patrol the troubled areas to save the students from racist attacks.

“I would like to urge the Indian students to be patient and show restraint. They have gone there (Australia) for higher studies. They should concentrate on that rather than retaliate,” he said.

In what was possibly the first act of retaliation, a 20-year-old man was reportedly stabbed in Melbourne on Monday after he had allegedly abused a group of students from India.

The Australian Police have asked the Indian students to stop patrolling the stations and other troubled areas and to leave the job of maintaining law and order to them.
The External Affairs Minister said that the Australian government had given assurance that steps would be taken to ensure the safety of Indian students.

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