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India summons Australia envoy over student attacks
NEW DELHI |
NEW DELHI May 29 (Reuters) - India summoned the Australian ambassador on Friday to convey concern over a slew of attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and urged steps to ensure such assaults do not recur.
Four Indian students were attacked with a screwdriver by a gang at a party last weekend, and one remains in hospital with serious injuries.
On Monday, an Indian student was attacked in what appeared to be a robbery, and there were three other attacks in early May, including two on Indian taxi drivers.
Media reports in India say the attacks are race-based.
"I have not seen the evidence that they were racist, but I wasn't there, I wouldn't discount it. Some racism exists in Australia, it's appalling , we condemn it," ambassador John McCarthy told reporters after meeting Indian officials.
"The Secretary (East) conveyed India's concerns very clearly and very much urged that we take steps to ensure that students are better briefed about conditions in Australia and to ensure these sort of incidents do not occur again."
He said police had made several arrests in the attacks.
Indian TV stations repeatedly telecast footage of one of the attacks inside a train in which a group of young men wearing hooded jackets were seen punching and kicking a man.
Australian colleges and universities are popular with Indian students pursuing degrees in business, information technology, engineering and hospitality. More than 80,000 of them have enrolled in Australian institutions since August last year. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Melbourne radio on Friday: "I am concerned about any act of violence in the streets and suburbs of Australia's cities and towns and particularly when we are obviously hosts to students from around the world.
"It is appalling in every sense. Any act of violence, any decent human being just responds with horror at the sorts of attack which have occurred recently." (Reporting by Krittivas Mukherjee; Additional reporting by James Grubel in CANBERRA; Editing by Jerry Norton)
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