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Australian Govt vows action as another Indian student attacked

india Updated: May 28, 2009 21:13 IST
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Racial attacks against Indians continued unabated in Melbourne with a 25-year-old becoming the latest victim, even as a youth battled for life after being stabbed by a group of teenagers, prompting Australia to pledge on Thursday that 'victimisation' of foreign students would not be tolerated.

In a fresh incident, Baljinder Singh was attacked on Monday night when two men carrying weapons approached him and demanded money.

As Singh, 25, searched through his bag to hand over his wallet, he was stabbed in the abdomen, the Herald Sun reported, adding the Indian
screamed for his life while his attackers laughed and fled the scene.

"I bent down and one guy stabbed me," Singh was quoted as saying. "I just wanted to save my life and yelled just don't kill me.'"

"We're not safe here now," he said, adding, "I thought it was safe here, that's why I came to Australia.

The latest attack came as Shravan Kumar, a 25-year-old student from Andhra Pradesh, fought for life in a hospital in Melbourne after being stabbed by a screwdriver by a group of teens in a weekend attack that also left 3 of his friends injured.

Indian Consul General Anita Nair visited Kumar on Wednesday and said doctors were not very optimistic about his recovery.

In the wake of pressure from India to act, Australia vowed that "discrimination against or victimisation" of any foreign student would not be tolerated.

In a statement in Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Julia Gillard said she wanted to "send a message loud and clear that international students are very welcome in this nation."

"Australia will not tolerate discrimination against or victimisation of any of our international students," she said.

Earlier on Thursday, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said he was "appalled" by these attacks and that action was being taken.

"As a foreign minister, I am appalled by these attacks and I condemn them absolutely," he said in a statement, adding that Australia takes "very seriously" its reputation as a safe destination for Indian students.

In a related development, Australian police arrested two teenagers allegedly involved in a racist attack on Indian student Saurabh Sharma on a Melbourne train earlier this month.

Sharma, 21, was beaten up and robbed by a group of teenagers on a train on May 9. Police are now questioning the two boys, aged 16 and 18, after searching two homes.

CCTV footage of the incident helped police identify the alleged attackers.

Police are still searching for three others in connection with the assault, the Victorian Police said in a statement.

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