Akali Dal expresses concern over spate of attacks on students in Australia

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New Delhi, Jan 5(ANI): The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) party on Tuesday submitted a memorandum on the spate of continuous attacks on students Down Under to the Australian High Commissioner in the national capital.

Activists of the Delhi unit of the party, led by Rajinder Singh met Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Verghese and demanded that Indians in Australia must be protected against such attacks.

He also said that High Commissioner Verghese assured that necessary action would be taken against the offenders.

"He (Verghese) told us that their Government is aware of the situation in Australia and they are taking all necessary actions. If anyone is found guilty, then the court will punish the person accordingly. We demanded that Indians in Australia must be protected against such attacks and they assured us that everybody is safe and people who are committing such offences would be punished," Singh said.

Earlier on Saturday, 21-year-old Nitin Garg, an accounting graduate student hailing from Punjab, was stabbed to death on his way to work at a fast food outlet in Melbourne.

Police said the motive for the attack, which they described as vicious, was not known.

Meanwhile, the Indian media have labeled the series of attacks against Indian students in Australia as racist, but police and the Australian Government have said the attacks are purely criminal.

Union External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had also issued a statement condemning the 'brutal attack' and warned that the attacks were creating 'deep anger' in India, and could have an adverse bearing on bilateral ties.

Attacks against Indian students in 2009, mainly in Melbourne, led to violent protests by students and strained bilateral ties, prompting Julia Gillard, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Education and Social Inclusion, and other Australian ministers to visit India and assure Indians that steps are being taken to stop such attacks.

Australian universities also sought to reassure students and their families that Australia was a safe place to study, but a recent study forecast a 20 percent drop in Indian students in 2010 due to the attacks.

In 2009, there were more than 70,000 Indians studying in Australia. (ANI)

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