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India summons Oz envoy

india Updated: Oct 10, 2010 02:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The ministry of external affairs (MEA) has reacted sharply to a racist email scandal in Australia, involving Victorian police officers, who joked about the video of a man sitting on top of a train in India getting electrocuted and suggested it could be “a way to fix the Indian student problem” in Melbourne.

The Ministry of External Affairs summoned Australian High Commissioner to India, Peter Varghese, and issued a demarche.

The envoy, describing the incident as “unacceptable” conveyed his Government’s condemnation over it, handing over copies of the statements already made by the Premier of Victoria and the Chief Commissioner of the Victoria Police in this regard.

The Victorian police officers were caught in a racist e-mail scandal joking about the electrocution of an Indian train passenger who was sitting on the roof of a train. They uggesting that it could be “a way to fix the Indian student problem” in Melbourne

“Implication of police officers in such behaviour, specially vis-à-vis Indian community in Australia, is shocking and matter of serious concern. Such attitudes have no place in any society”, SM Krishna said.

“Such attitude has no place in any society. We understand investigations are already underway. We sincerely hope that apart from taking action against concerned officials, Australian authorities will also take necessary and effective measures to address concerns about safety of all people of Indian origin in Australia,” the Minister further said.

"This is an email which is offensive...it is unacceptable and it is completely contrary to the principles of respect and tolerance we seek to embed in Australian society,” the envoy told reporters after meeting Indian MEA officials. Krishna had directed the Ministry offcials to seek explanation from Mr Varghese after emails containing racial remarks against Indians by top Victorian police officers were made public by the Australian media.

Varghese said the Commissioner of Police in Victoria had said that he would be taking the matter “very seriously” and disciplinary process was underway. “It involves two officers. One officer has left the police force while the investigation was underway. The second officer is facing serious disciplinary charges,” he added.

Australian media reported late Saturday four officers were sacked and disciplinary action was initiated against 15 others. One officer has been demoted, another five have been fined up to $3,000 and placed on 12-month good behaviour bonds.