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’4 Indians fatally attacked after Rudd’s promise to stop violence’

’4 Indians fatally attacked after Rudd’s promise to stop violence’: S M Krishna

Government said on Wednesday that there were reports of four incidents of fatal attacks on Indians in Australia after Premier Kevin Rudd promised last year that the authorities there will have a zero-tolerance approach towards such crimes.

An Indian was stabbed to death and three others were reported to have been killed in Australia after Rudd had assured during his visit here late last year that all measures are being taken to stop such violence, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

“All the four incidents took place after the visit of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to India in November last year when he reiterated that Australia had a zero-tolerance approach to such violence and committed to take all possible measures to protect Indian students," Krishna said in reply to a question.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith is currently visiting India to hold talks on the issue as well as to know about security preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in October.

rishna said over 100 Indians were attacked in Australia since May 2009. To another question, he said some of the incidents could have racial overtones. “While we continue to receive reports of sporadic attacks on Indians in Australia, there does not appear to be any evidence to indicate a persistent rise," Krishna said. However, he said there was a spurt in the number of attacks in January.

The Minister said although government has not dissuaded Indian students from going to Australia, they were advised to take certain basic precautions.
Replying to a separate question in Lok Sabha, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said over 54 arrests have been made and in certain cases sentences have been handed down by the Australian authorities in such incidents.

“Investigations are continuing and more arrests are expected to be made," he said. Ravi informed that a joint working group has been formed with a view to consider regulation of employment agents and organise pre-departure orientation programme for the students.

Attacks damaged Australia’s reputation among Indians: Smith

New Delhi, Mar 3:Australia on Wednesday acknowledged that some of the attacks on Indians were racists in nature, causing considerable damage to its reputation among Indian people and said its premier criminal research agency has been roped in to study the issue and suggest remedial measures.
"I acknowledge absolutely that this issue has caused considerable damage to Australia’s reputation among Indian people. We have to work very hard to address that. We have to be open, transparent and upfront about that," visiting Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told reporters here.

He said some of the attacks are racists in nature or having racial overtones.

"We know that a number of these assaults are racists and have racial overtones. These are absolutely contemptible. We are doing a range of things in future to better portray modern Australia. We want to underline the strength of relationship between India and Australia," Smith said.

However, both the countries have agreed that the issue should not be allowed to affect the bilateral ties which has grown immensely in the last two years, he said.

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has been entrusted with the task of studying the issue in depth and ensure whether the government’s response to the attacks has been apt, Smith said.

Giving details about the study entrusted to the AIC, Smith said the institute, which is a premier agency in criminal justice research, will study the issue from all aspects and examine the response of the Australian government.

"Our police authority in Australia does not keep statistics on the basis of nationality. It has been difficult to do an exhaustive statistical analysis of the assaults. The institute will do the study to get a better understanding of the issue," he said.

"We want to see whether the Institute of Criminology can give us a deeper and further understanding to make sure that we are responding in a every possible way and that we are doing everything that we can," Smith said.

The minister had a series of meeting in recent months with his Indian counterpart S M Krishna over the issue.

"I want to give the message that we have zero tolerance to any such attack. We want to bring the culprits to justice," he said.

Smith said there have been convictions in many cases while investigation is going on in 70 cases. "We want to ensure that any visitor to Australia experiences what the people of the country experience," he said.

Smith said several initiatives have been taken by his government to check such incidents."We abhor violence. We abhor these attacks".