Oz authorities says Indian students not racist targets

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Melbourne, June 9 (ANI): Australian politicians and police and Indian community leaders, are in agreement that Indians living in Australia are not the targets of racial hate crimes.

They said there is no evidence to suggest that Monday's attack on an Indian man in Sydney's west was racially motivated.

Police were called to Wigram Street at Harris Park just before 9 p.m. (AEST) after the man was allegedly attacked by a group of Middle Eastern men.

The attack sparked an impromptu protest of about 200 Indians, allegedly culminating in attacks on three Lebanese men, who suffered minor cuts and bruises.

There's a reluctance among Australia's Indian population to report crimes against them, and yesterday's victim did not lodge a complaint with police.

Assistant Police Commissioner Dave Owens said not reporting crimes was common in some communities.

"It's very frustrating, because if somebody commits an offence, I believe they should be charged and they should be prosecuted before the courts," news.com.au quoted Owens, as saying.

"I don't believe at this point in time it is racially motivated ... I believe these were a random act which unfortunately have escalated," he added.

Dr Yadu Singh, a prominent member of Sydney's Indian community, shares the view.

"I don't think really there is a war going on between two races or two communities.

But Indian students are not starting the fight, they are not going out to commit crime, so who is doing it? That is what the police have to find out," Singh said.

While police in NSW are working with universities and public transport operators to provide the best possible security, a group of Indian men patrolling Melbourne's train system has been disbanded.

The men were allegedly patrolling suburban railway stations, including St Albans, Thomastown and Springvale, to prevent attacks on their countrymen, the ABC reported.

India's foreign minister S.M. Krishna today called for calm among Indian students in Australia.

"I would like our Indian students to be patient ... restrained. They have gone there to pursue higher studies, they should concentrate on that," he said in New Delhi.

eputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the Federal Government is working with the states to ensure the safety of Indian students.

Universities Australia says it has adopted a 10-point action plan for student safety which emphasizes strong law enforcement and complementary actions.

It said the plan came out of a meeting last week with members of Canberra's diplomatic community including Indian High Commissioner to Australia Sujatha Singh.

On Monday night, the assault on a young Indian man sparked a tense racial demonstration in Sydney's west.

Hundreds of young Indian men gathered to protest outside shops in Harris Park following the assault, which happened just before 9 p.m.

The man, aged in his early 20s, was allegedly attacked by a group of Middle Eastern men near the intersection of Marion and Wigram Sts.

His injuries were minor and he has so far declined to make a formal complaint.

Soon after that incident, three Middle Eastern men were allegedly assaulted by members of the Indian group as protesters flooded onto the streets.

The trio suffered cuts and bruises and were treated by ambulance officers at the scene. (ANI)

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