Will brief India on steps taken to curb attacks: Oz FM

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 16:31

New Delhi: Visiting Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith will meet with his Indian counterpart SM Krishna at Hyderabad House on Wednesday afternoon.

Smith said on Tuesday he is looking forward to the meeting and will use it to extensively brief his Indian counterpart on the steps that the Australian Government is taking to halt and end attacks on members of the Indian community.

Talking to Indian media outside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium this afternoon, Smith said: “I will brief the Indian government on the actions taken by authorities to create a safe and rewarding study environment for Indian students in Australia.”

“Krishna and I will discuss Australia’s and India’s close cooperation in trying to solve the recent problems faced by some Indians in Australia,” he added.

He reiterated that Australia is a safe country to stay and study in, and added that government would not tolerate racist attacks on any community, Indian or other.

Smith will also brief New Delhi on Australia’s recently announced Counter-Terrorism White Paper and discuss security arrangements for the Commonwealth Games here later this year.

The two sides will explore greater cooperation in the area of education when Smith meets Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday evening.

On Tuesday, Smith met Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and reportedly discussed ways to enhance bilateral trade cooperation between the two countries.

Smith`s visit to the Indian capital for a review of the arrangements for the October Commonwealth Games and to watch the "Friendship Match" between India and Australia along with Sibal on Tuesday night came as a 60-year-old Indian-origin man living in Australia was left alone to fight a gang of 25 drunken racists for a terrifying 2 1/2 hours to prevent them from intruding his Melbourne home when Victoria Police refused to help him out of situation.

The Herald Sun quoted Ranjit Sahasranaman as saying that he was assaulted in his own backyard and racially abused after the gang of mostly white men tore down his back fence and gained entry on Sunday.

“They were throwing punches at me. They told me to get lost from this country,” Sahasranaman said.

He said he called police up four times before they finally responded.

“I told them my life was in danger, but they kept asking silly questions. Finally I told them we are going to die. What was I supposed to do? If the police say they can`t do it, then I have to do it myself,” he said.

The father of two, a karate champion who has lived in Australia for the past 19 years, was forced to fight back with a bar when the intruders got within centimetres of his back door.

Police arrived after his ordeal was over, and drove home one of the injured gang member who alleged he was a victim of Sahasranaman’s assault.

“All they are good for is barbecue, dinner and dance. They left a letter in my mailbox asking me to contact Crime Stoppers,” Sahasranaman said, adding that police didn’t make any arrests.

However, police spokeswoman Sgt Creina O`Grady denied police were slow to react.

“Within 15 minutes of Mr Ranjit`s call, two police units were on the scene breaking up the disturbance,” she said.

But she confirmed police then gave one of the gang a lift home.

“Police spoke to several people and drove one youth home who had received injuries in an alleged assault. After dealing with this job and the people concerned, attending police then went and spoke to the complainant. Investigations are still under way in relation to the matter,” she said. (ANI)



First Published: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 16:31

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