Stung by the racial attack against three Indians in Melbourne, Victorian Police on Wednesday said it has launched investigations into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Dismissing the contention by relatives of the victims that a group of 70 people attacked the three Indians, it said only four men were involved in the assault and a group of up to 20 were bystanders.
"Four men had been involved in the actual assault and a group of up to 20 had been bystanders," Acting Senior Sergeant Glenn Parker was quoted as saying by The Age.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said police had witnessed about 15 men and women making racist comments and one woman throwing water on a bystander during the heated incident.
She said the group continued to sling racist abuse and threats at the victims as police took them away from the scene. The Victoria Police has launched an investigations "into the circumstances surrounding the racial attack."
26-year-old Sukhdip Singh, who arrived here a month ago on a spouse visa, his brother Gurdeep Singh and uncle Mukhtair Singh were attacked by a group of Australians when they were playing pool in a bar in Epping suburb on Saturday.
Four men were arrested and interviewed in this connection but have been released pending further investigations, police said.
Onkar Singh, a relative of the victims, said the group started telling them to "go back to their country" after attacking the trio "brutally".
"At around 11'o clock (on Saturday) my brother-in-law Sukhdip was playing pool along with his family members when they were attacked by around 70 locals who were attending a party," he said.
"They were quietly playing (pool) and were trying to avoid trouble even after these locals were trying to provoke them by passing comments," Singh said.
Australian media flashed the news this morning after it made headlines in India.
"The incident has made headlines in India and is fuelling Melbourne's reputation as a hotspot for racist crime ahead of Premier John Brumby's visit to the country next week," local media reported.