Melbourne, May 10: A body representing Indian students studying in Australia has expressed fears of a rise in racial attacks against them.
Federation of Indian Students of Australia secretary Gautam Gupta said racism was rampant. The news.com.au website quoted him as saying that he knew of eight students who had been assaulted in Melbourne in the past month. Two returned to India in fear, he added. According to the web site, seventeen foreign students have died in Victoria in the past year from boarding home fires, murders, car crashes and drowning. A savage assault on student taxi driver Jalvinder Singh two weeks ago has led to warnings by the Indian press that racist attacks in Melbourne are on the rise.
A Herald Sun investigation found many of the 135,000 foreign students living in Melbourne faced difficulties.
A group of landlords, including one man who owns 70 houses, are cashing in, with some charging weekly rates of 85 dollars a head when up to 14 students live in one house.
Eight private "colleges" catering to foreign students have been forced to shut their doors in the past three years for failing to meet educational standards.
Thousands of foreign students are driving cabs or doing five dollar-an-hour menial jobs to afford their education.
Victoria University housing officer Hean Chang agreed landlords were exploiting students.