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Australia a tolerant, anti-racist society: Minister

world Updated: Jan 11, 2010 20:48 IST

As Indian Jaspreet Singh recuperates in hospital after being set on fire, the Australian government has said the country is tolerant and anti-racist.

Acting Foreign Minister Simon Crean said he did not believe that racism was on the rise in Australia.

"Australia is a tolerant and anti-racist society, but there is no guarantee everyone subscribes to those values," Crean was quoted as saying by the ABC.

The remarks came amid a string of attacks on Indians, including the fatal stabbing of 21-year-old Nitin Garg Jan 2. The accounting graduate was killed while going to work at a fast-food restaurant in the West Footscray suburb.

The incident was followed by an assault on Jaspreet Singh, who was allegedly set on fire by a group of men minutes after he dropped his wife at their Grice Crescent home at Essendon about 2 am Friday.

He ran from the car while peeling off his clothes. He suffered 15 per cent burns. Crean said that in the most recent cases, he does not believe race was an issue.