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Sensing hostility, he returned to India

india Updated: Jun 01, 2009 01:22 IST
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The attacks on Indian students in Australia have begun to play on the minds of parents. Hotelier Dinesh Khanna, for instance, decided to call his son back from Sydney.

Till a week back, Mukul Khanna (19) dreamt of a promising career armed with a degree in Bachelor of Business Administration from Australia.

On Sunday, when HT spoke to Khanna, the teenager wasn’t so sure. “I’ve come back. I don’t know what I’ll do.”

Mukul joined the Macquarie University, Sydney, in September 2008. Although he wasn’t attacked or verbally abused, he could

sense the hostility building up.

“When Mukul came home after the first semester in March, he had spoken about minor attacks on Indian students there. Such incidents have been happening there for quite some time. We are definitely bothered about his career but then, our child is more important,” Dinesh said.

Even now Mukul is not ready to blame the “friendly” Australians.

“Indians are not the only students being attacked. The Chinese, too, are attacked. And it is not the Australians who are attacking Asians but people from other countries who have become citizens and are unemployed. They are petty thieves or anti-social elements,” Mukul told HT.

After staying in the college hostel for about two weeks, Mukul had shifted to Homebush, a suburb a 15 minutes away from college, by train.

Students who stay in the suburbs need to take additional care, Mukul said. “The campuses there are safe. These incidents are happening in the suburbs. Even for boys, the standing instructions from our seniors were not to move alone.”

For the Khannas, their son staying alone at Sydney with no immediate family or a close friend was too much. “Not out of fear, but as a prevention, I’ve called him back,” Dinesh said.