Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention to ensure safety of religious places and Indian community in Australia.
Following a string of attacks on Indians and the recent incident when an under-construction gurdwara in Melbourne was torched, Badal shot off a letter to the prime minister in which he expressed serious concern over "racial discrimination against members of Punjabi community in Australia."
Nearly 100 cases of attacks on Indians were reported in Australia in 2009 as against 17 incidents of assaults in 2008. A partially-built gurdwara was damaged in a blaze on Wednesday and police is probing the possibility of arsonists using Molotov cocktails in the incident.
Badal said despite various assurances by the Australian government and its Ambassador to India, there is "no positive outcome and the situation is deteriorating day by day, creating anguish and a sense of insecurity among Punjabis".
The Chief Minister pointed out in the letter that the Australian government has recognised the enormous contribution of Punjabis in that country's growth and economy which is appreciable.
If such incidents of attack on religious places and the members of the Punjabi community continued, the circumstances may lead to various problems of serious nature including unrest in Punjab, he warned.
Badal asked the Prime Minister to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to monitor the situation and extend help to Indian community in overcoming fears of insecurity, insults and harassment at the hands of assailants in Australia.