Aussie PM downplays attacks

Rudd warns Indian students against vigilante action

As the agitated Indian community held a second night of protests in Sydney against racial violence, Rudd appealed for calm and promised “hardline measures” against such attacks.
“It’s unacceptable for anyone to commit an act of violence against any student of any ethnicity anywhere in Australia,” the Prime Minister said.

At the same time, he noted that 20 Australians have either been murdered or assaulted in India over the last decade. “Let’s get our statistics right. Australians in India at any time run the risk also of some violence.”

“In the last decade I was advised, we had, I think, up to 20 Australians who have either been murdered or had various forms of assault committed against them,” he said.
“That is not the result of Australians being targeted in India; it’s just a fact of violence in the cities around the world...I do think we need some balance in this debate.”

Rudd said while violence in all Australian cities was “a regrettable part” of urban life, vigilante action was equally unwelcome. “We also need to render as completely unacceptable people taking the law into their own hands.” “Everyone needs just to draw some breath on this and we need to see a greater atmosphere of general calm,” Rudd said. “I fully support hardline measures in response to any act of violence towards any student anywhere — Indian or otherwise,” he said.

Acts of retaliation

Rudd’s remarks came close on the heels of acts of retaliation by the Indians following attacks on at least 11 students in the past one month. Indian students have also formed groups to protect students from racial attacks.

Meanwhile, Sravan Kumar, a student from Andhra Pradesh who slipped into a coma after a brutal assault with a screwdriver last month, has taken his first step and is now able to respond, his uncle said.

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