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Indians walk students home in Australia

india Updated: Jun 10, 2009 02:37 IST
Dheepthi Namasivayam
Dheepthi Namasivayam
Hindustan Times
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The Indian community here has come to the rescue of its students being targeted for racial attacks, by taking care of them while returning home late in the night when they are most vulnerable.

Moti Visa, editor of an Indian community newspaper, said he has begun pick-ups and drop-offs for Indians who live in his area, in Melbourne’s north-east.

He said, “The main problems are happening when our youngsters are getting down from the trains and they have to walk alone. That can be eliminated.”

“We might have to spend some money from our pocket but at least our children will be safe,” he added.

Arun Sharma, part-owner of an Indian restaurant in Melbourne’s south, has been providing transport to his staff from last November after some incidents of violence. His carpool takes home around six Indian students at least six nights a week.

“Violent attacks were happening for a few years, but it was sporadic,” he said, adding, “Now it’s becoming more widespread.”

The Indians on his staff said they fear walking home from suburban train stations, where police patrolling is minimal late at night.

“A lot of these students were scared,” Sharma said. “For us it’s a little detour...but we know at least we’ve done something right.”

There have also been reports that Indian students have taken to patrolling some of the dangerous areas. A police official said they shouldn’t and “let police do their jobs”. She said police had already boosted patrols on the troubled train line, the railway stations and at a St Albans shopping centre to prevent further attacks.

Last night the first retaliatory attack was reported in which a man was stabbed after he called out to a group of Indians asking them to leave the country as “you are black, and you don’t belong here.”

Government of India advised Indians students to show restraint. "I would like to urge the Indian students to be patient and show restraint. They have gone there (Australia) for higher studies. They should concentrate on that rather than retaliate," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told reporters outside Parliament House on Tuesday.

Indian students are getting restive. Some of them participated carried baseball bats to a rally last night in Harris Park, home to one of Sydney’s largest Indian communities, demanding that local police release the two Indian boys arrested for the retaliatory attack. (With PTI)