Indian student association appeals for a more pro-active approach

"Local established Indian groups could adopt a station to provide community or neighbourhood watch committees," FISA said in a statement.

"If middle class and educated people are at stations at night then the risk of attacks will be reduced. Police are more likely to listen to wealthy professional Indians than students," it said.

These safety watch committees can report back to police and work to reduce poor lighting and other hazards at stations in the poorer neighbourhoods, the statement said.

FISA has suggested that the Indian community should come forward and provide at least two weeks free boarding to new students to help them adjust in the country.

The student federation today presented a 10-point action plan to support vulnerable newcomers in the country.

"If the established Indian community adopts the plan, it will send a strong message to the Australian government. It will ask them to take action. It will also show what we are doing to help ourselves," Tim Singh, a Councillor in Victoria, said in a statement issued by FISA.

The federation also called on Indian doctors and lawyers to provide free services to students.

Seeking more hotlines for Indian students, FISA said, "We need all community groups to chip in and establish hotlines in all Indian languages. These need to be staffed with qualified counsellors. Most students look to the Indian association that speak their language. Few have heard of FIAV or other umbrella groups."

FISA further suggested naming and shaming landlords, bosses, agents and education institute who were allegedly ripping off these students.

"Each community groups could publish the name of 'rip off merchants' on their websites so that students know exactly who they should avoid," it said.

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