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Indian students attacked in Italy say assaults were racially motivated

The Indian consulate in Milan said it had taken up the incident of attacks with the “highest level of law and order authorities” in the city and urged students not to panic.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2017 21:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian students in Milan,racist attacks on Indian students,Italy-India relations
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said she is personally monitoring the situation.(AP file)

India on Tuesday said it had taken up with Italian authorities several cases of attacks on Indian students in Milan, with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj saying she was personally monitoring the situation.

At least three Indian students in Milan told a TV news channel that they were victims of “racist” attacks in the northern Italian city. One said he was repeatedly punched in the face by some Italian men and told to “go home” on October 17, while another said he was threatened with a broken beer bottle and hit on the head on October 29.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the Indian consulate in Milan said it had taken up the “unfortunate incident of attacks on the Indian students” with the “highest level of law and order authorities” in the city.

“All Indian students are urged not to panic,” the statement said. The consulate asked students to report all such attacks as it would help officials to take up the issue with authorities in Milan “so that all efforts can be made to prevent recurrence of such incidents in future”.

The statement advised Indian students “to be in touch with each other (particularly when they go out) as well as with the consulate and spread the information among other students about the areas where they face such incidents so that such areas can be avoided”.

In a tweet, Swaraj said she had received a detailed report on the attacks. “Pls do not worry. I am monitoring the situation personally,” she added.

Italy is home to a 180,000-strong Indian community, the third largest in the European Union after the UK and the Netherlands.

News of the attacks emerged as Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni was visiting India during October 29-30.

He was the first Italian premier to travel to the country in more than a decade in a bid to boost bilateral ties, which took a hit following the February 2012 killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone in the waters off Kerala.

The case is now with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Seas at The Hague and India has allowed both marines to return home.

First Published: Oct 31, 2017 19:00 IST