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Indian envoy to meet Brumby; Police ask victims to report cases

world Updated: Feb 06, 2010 17:47 IST
Racial attacks

Amid a slew of attacks on Indian students in Australia, High Commissioner Sujatha Singh is set to meet Victorian Premier John Brumby to discuss the issue, even as the state's police chief today asked the community members to trust his department and report the assault cases.

Singh would meet Brumby during the weekend after he sought a meeting following her discussion of the crisis with Victorian Governor General Quentin Bryce last week, sources told PTI, without giving details.

Singh had in her meeting with Bryce applauded the role of police in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, but said Victoria was taking too long to respond and was in a state of "denial" over the severity of attacks.

Her remarks prompted Brumby to seek a meeting with her again to assure that his government was doing all it could to stop the attacks. They had met last month also.

"I'll be able to inform her of all of these things and reassure her that Victoria is a much safer place than other places in Australia and indeed around the world," Brumby said.

There have been over 100 instances of attacks on Indians, most of them students, in Australia since last year. 21-year-old Nitin Garg, who was stabbed to death on January 2, was the first victim of such attacks this year.

Meanwhile, Victorian police commissioner Simon Overland said Indian students, particularly men working as taxi drivers and convenience stores attendants, were over-represented as victims of robberies rather than permanent residents.

Overland asked the Indian community to trust police and come forward to report any assault they face in the state.

The Victorian police's chief commissioner, addressing an International students' safety forum here, said permanent resident Indians were not being attacked at a higher rate than the rest of the general public, AAP reported.

"Undoubtedly, some of what we are seeing is racist. There is no denying that, I've never denied it, I have never walked away from that," he said.

However, he said "the standing Indian population doesn't live in those high risk areas, they don't necessarily use public transport."

Overland also urged international students to go to the police if they experience problems. "I know there are issues of trust but if you don't tell us, if you're not prepared to come forward and tell us, then there is little that we can actually do about it," he said.

Against the backdrop of the attacks on Indians, Australian Government was also planning to make changes in its skilled migration programme that would delink permanent residency with trade occupations such as hair-dressing and cookery.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans will announce the new rules on Monday that will include amendments to the "migration occupations in demand" list, which awards points to migrants applying to work in areas like hair-dressing and cookery, The Age reported.