Indians staying off Australian streets over fear of racial attacks

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Melbourne, Jan 9(ANI): Several Indian students in Australia have said that they are too afraid to walk the streets at night following reports of repeated hate crimes against the community.

They said that they feared becoming targets of racially motivated violence.

"We are careful not to walk the streets after dark. We are not safe because there are people here, who think Indians should not be in Australia," The Daily Telegraph quoted Bharat Chauhan, an accounting student in Australia, as saying.

Another Indian national Shraddha Patel said that she came to Australia in 2008 to take advantage of the better study opportunities, but emphasized that some locals were insecure about their jobs being taken up by Indian students.

"They think that Indians are here to take their jobs," Patel said.

According to police, 1,447 Indians were victims of reported crime in the year ending July 2008 in Melbourne, but the Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) believes the true figure is several times higher.

A string of incidents last year had triggered angry street protests in Sydney and Melbourne, where the victims included Baljinder Singh, who was stabbed with a screwdriver as he handed over his wallet to two assailants.

The killing of 21-year-old Indian student Nitin Garg last weekend has thrust concern about the safety of the community in Australia back into the spotlight - straining diplomatic ties between the two countries.

In the latest incident, a 29-year-old Indian man was admitted to Melbourne's Alfred hospital in a serious condition after four men allegedly attacked and set him on fire last night. (ANI)

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