The Australian Government on Thursday said that it will take steps to book the persons responsible for the attack on Indian students in Victoria,and added that it would take all steps required to ensure the Indian student communitys safety in the country.
Australias Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education Julia Gillard issued a statement in Australian Parliament in which she said: I want to send a message loud and clear that international students are very welcome in this nation and Australia will not tolerate discrimination against or victimisation of any of our international students.
She also announced a new initiative: A round-table of international student representatives to discuss with Government issues affecting their study experience.
The Government will invite international student representatives to participate in a round table to discuss issues affecting their study experience such as accommodation,welfare and safety. With over 430 000 international students visiting Australia annually,it is important to me that their views and concerns are heard and addressed by government, she said.
Australian High Commissioner to India,John McCarthy said: The top level of the Australian Government is seized of this matter (attack on Indian students) and working very hard to ensure the safety and well-being of Indian students in Australia. As our Foreign Minister Mr (Stephen) Smith has noted,a hotline,staffed by volunteers who are fluent in English and Hindi,has been established to provide support,information and advice to Indian students. We will do our utmost to ensure Indian students continue to enjoy a positive experience in Australia.
The Australias Foreign Minister had earlier on Thursday said: As Foreign Minister,Im appalled by these attacks and I condemn them absolutely. Australia takes very seriously its reputation as a safe destination for Indian students. Action is being taken.
The Australian Government was responding to a statement by Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on the attack on Indian students in Melbourne.
Krishna had on Wednesday said: I have been appalled by the attack on our students in Melbourne. Our Consulate General in Melbourne has been in touch with the students affected and with the State police. One of the students,Sravan Kumar Theerthala,is seriously injured and is currently in the Intensive Care Unit.
Our High Commissioner in Canberra has rushed to Melbourne to take stock of the situation and to ensure that the student who has been seriously injured receives the best possible treatment and that the authorities ensure that the culprits are brought to book, he further said
We will also impress upon the Australian authorities that such attacks should not be permitted and that it is their responsibility to ensure the well-being and security of our students studying in Australia, he added.
Deputy Prime Minister Gillard emphasized the contribution of international students to Australias multicultural society.
International students enrich our society. The relationships formed by students support long-lasting diplomatic,research and business links. International students build on Australias long multicultural history that has created a friendly,tolerant and secular country, she said.
The statement from Canberra came as another report said that the house where the attacked Indian students lived had been completely burgled. The Australian Police has so far not described the attack as racist. The Association of Indian Students in Australia has described as a racist attack.