Melbourne: Under fire for yet another racial
attack on a group of Indians here, Australian police on Wednesday
said they have launched an investigation into the incident and
denied that they were trying to cover it up.
Four days after three Indians were assaulted outside a
bar in a suburb here, police said they were investigating
"the circumstances surrounding the racial attack."
Victorian police`s Acting Senior Sergeant Glenn Parker
dismissed the contention by relatives of the victims that a
group of 70 people attacked the three Indians, claiming that
only four men were involved in the "actual assault" and up to
20 persons were bystanders, `The Age` reported.
Police also denied trying to cover up the racial attack
and said authorities had not tried to hush up the incident.
Their statement came amid criticism for the delay in
releasing details of the Saturday evening incident.
26-year-old Sukhdip Singh, who had arrived here a month
ago on a spouse visa, his brother Gurdeep Singh and uncle
Mukhtair Singh were attacked by a group of Australians when
they were playing pool in a bar in Epping suburb on Saturday.
"Any violence which does occur and any violence which
is racially motivated is completely unacceptable...and I`ll
keep repeating this message as long as I have to get the
message out there," Victorian Premier John Brumby, who will
visit India next week, was quoted as saying by local media.
Brumby, however, admitted that some of the events of the
past few months have "damaged our brand and the Australian
brand in India."
"I can only repeat that overall we remain one of the
safest places in the world," he said.
During his India visit, the Premier will also meet
students to encourage them to continue to come to Victoria.
Around 30 Indian students have been attacked by
Australians in various cities in a span of three months.
About the Saturday attack, a police spokeswoman said they
had witnessed about 15 men and women making racist comments
and one woman throwing water on a bystander during the
She said the group continued to make racist abuses and
threats at the victims as police took them away from the
Four men were arrested and interviewed in connection with
the attack, but had been released pending further
investigation, police said.
Meanwhile, the state government of Victoria has tightened its key laws to recognise the impact of hate crimes. The state government today brought about changes in the Sentencing Amendment Bill, 2009 after a spur in race crimes in recent times across the island continent.
The new law will make judges take into account the act of racism while sentencing the accused.