A racially inspired attack on four Indian citizens in Australia has strained ties between the two nations.
The Indian government has asked its consulate in Melbourne, where the attack took place, to investigate the incident. Meanwhile, John Brumby, the premier of Victoria, will travel to India next week as part of a campaign to assure the government in New Delhi that Australia is a safe place for Indians to live and study. Already, Australia’s minister of education visited India in August with such reassurances.
The attack on the four Indians outside a bar in Melbourne comes after a wave other similar attacks in May and June that generated much media attention in India. Australia has since taken a number of measures to assure India that these are isolated incidents, not reflective of their society.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Mr. Brumby said that those who carried out the attack had done damage to the Australia and his province of Victoria, reports The Age, an Australian newspaper.
The Australian press has alleged that Melbourne police tried to cover up the details of the attack by waiting four days to release a report about it. The Agence France-Presse reports that a police spokesman said, “There has been no deliberate attempt to suppress it,” however, the police have offered no explanation for why they waited four days to release details of the attack.
In India, there continues to be much outrage over this latest incident, with local news outlets recounting the racial abuse reportedly endured by the victims of the assault. The Press Trust of India reports that the victims’ relatives say up to 70 people assaulted them, but the police say it was only15 men and women who surrounded them and began shouting racial slurs before the group descended in on the Indian nationals.
The Indo-Asian News Service reports that the crowd shouted “Go back to India” and one of the Indian men suffered a broken nose and jaw, and can no longer eat solid food.
The victims say they were playing pool in a bar and then followed into the parking lot by a crowd of locals. One of the victims has lived in Australia for 22 years and gone to the same bar where he was assaulted, yet he says this is the first time he has ever experienced any problems, reports The Canberra Times.