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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

World

Sikh victim of racial assault in Australia narrates ordeal
PTI
Melbourne, July 01, 2009
First Published: 22:56 IST(1/7/2009)
Last Updated: 22:57 IST(1/7/2009)

Recalling his ordeal, a 22-year-old Sikh youth, who was assaulted in Melbourne by a group of teenagers, has said the attackers racially taunted him as they forcibly removed his turban and tried to cut his hair.

Resham Singh, who was attacked on Monday at Dandenong train Station in Melbourne, said the six teenagers who attacked him told him that "'you Indians, we hate you, we will kill you.'"

Singh, a student of hospitality who came from Punjab six months ago and became the 20th Indian victim of assaults within a month, said the attackers racially taunted him.

The Sikh youth, who received cuts and bruises in the incident, told ABC radio that "they pulled off my turban, I can't tolerate this thing" as it has a religious significance.

"We can tolerate violence physically but we can't tolerate these things," he was quoted as saying.
"How can we stay here? I can't feel safe here... I have never seen police here (at the train station)," he said.

Victoria police said they had arrested two persons in connection with the assault but withheld the identity of the victim.

"The youths from Dandenong -- aged 13 and 15 years -- were charged with intentionally causing serious injury, recklessly causing serious injury and assault in company," a police spokesperson said.

Soon after the attack, Singh had said that though the episode has shaken him, he will continue his course and eventually get permanent residency.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has declared "zero tolerance" against attacks on students including Indians. Victorian police have also announced an initiative to mount stronger patrolling around train stations to curb any such crime.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told Sky News that his government did not want "the only view of Australia to be some terrible and tragic incidents, which we have condemned."
"We are, generally, a safe society. We welcome not just Indian students, but all students from other countries," he said.

Australia is home to over 95,000 Indian students, including 47,000 in Victoria.

Admitting for the first time that some of the recent attacks on Indians in Australia were "racially motivated", Victorian Police Commissioner Simon Overland had last month said the police force should be "multicultural" and asked the community members to join it.

He said the Victorian Police have interacted with the Indian students and were taking steps to make the environment in the state safe for everyone.


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