Melbourne, Jan 8 (ANI): The Victoria Police today rejected the charge of racism implied in a cartoon published in India, arguing the force had a strong relationship with Indians in Australia.
The cartoon, published in Tuesday's edition of New Delhi based newspaper Mail Today, shows an Australian police officer dressed in a white hood as a member of the Ku Klux Klan, saying: "We are yet to ascertain the nature of the crime".
Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe said he could understand that some police officers would find the cartoon, likening Australian police to members of the Ku Klux Klan, "offensive", but that Victorian police should "stand by our record".
"We have a strong relationship with the Indian community and we know that the Indian community supports the work that Victoria Police has done," The Australian quoted him, as saying.
Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard joined Victoria police union boss to condemn the cartoon. "We are yet to ascertain the nature of the crime," she said.
Gillard said she had not yet seen the cartoon, but she said she believed it was deeply offensive. "Any suggestion of the kind is deeply offensive and I would condemn the making of such comment," she said.
The image is set to put further pressure on already fragile ties between India and Australia following the murder of Nitin Garg at Yarraville park in Melbourne's west last Saturday night.
Commissioner Walshe has issued a personal assurance to India's High Commissioner that "everything possible" was being done to bring the person responsible for Garg's death to justice. (ANI)