Oz refusal of visas to Indian lawn bowls team 'ultimate case of Indian-bashing'

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New Delhi, June 12(ANI): In an action being claimed as the "ultimate case of Indian-bashing", the Indian lawn bowls team and their trainer have been denied visa to visit Sydney, as the Australian high commission in New Delhi considers them "flight risks".

The bowls team, aged 14 to 54, had been invited to play in Sydney, as part of training for New Delhi's Commonwealth Games in October. The men and women were due to arrive today.

Immigration officials said that the players and their trainer were a flight risk after they were found to have insufficient bank savings and to lack incentives to return home.

"Consideration was given to each applicant's reasons for visiting Australia, their financial capacity and their incentives to return to their home country," The Age quoted an Australian immigration spokesman, as saying.

"If applicants have insufficient funds to support their stay or a determination is made there are insufficient incentives for an applicant's return home, the visa application is refused," he added.

However, highlighting the Australian bowls team's participation in a tournament in Delhi earlier this year, Indian team coach Richard Gale said it was hypocritical for Australia not to reciprocate the welcome.

"This is the ultimate case of Indian-bashing by government officials ... To improve, you have to play the best players in the world and that's Australia," Gale said.

Gale further said that players might have "insufficient bank savings" because none of them were paid a salary, and the Indian government covered all their expenses.

"Most of India's best sportspersons come from extremely poor backgrounds. As usual, [you] just stand on them and push their faces into the dirt again," he added.

Australia's reputation in India was earlier tarnished by a spate of vicious attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney last year.

Protesters in Delhi had burnt effigies of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and called the country racist. (ANI)

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