Home India News Don’t accept assurances on attacks in Australia: Indian student

Don’t accept assurances on attacks in Australia: Indian student


Sydney : An Indian student leader, who says he has been racially abused, has urged India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna to not accept at face value the assurance offered by the Australian government with regard to the string of assaults on them.

Mayank Sharma, a member of the University of Technology Sydney student council and part of a New South Wales government task force on foreign students, told ABC News that he has been physically assaulted twice in the 18 months he has been studying for his MBA in Australia.

Krishna, who is the first senior Indian minister to visit Australia following the attacks, said he has been reassured by the New South Wales premier that students from his homeland are safe here.

The attacks against Indian students in Sydney and Melbourne caused an outrage in India. There have been at least 19 attacks on students from India, with the first incident taking place May 9. Nearly 100,000 Indian students are studying in Australia, contributing around $2 billion annually to the host country.

Krishna said Thursday: “Indian students are going to be safe in Australia and Indians, by and large, are most welcome in Australia — that is the message I got from the premier of New South Wales.”

Sharma told ABC News: “I completely disagree with this because statements are statements always … until you get some results and some facts, actually, just something is going on.

“Lots of students ask me before coming to Australia this semester whether they should come or not and I was really confused about that.”

Sharma has been taken aback by a number of personal racist attacks in the past month.

“The situation is getting worse, you can say.

“See in the very first incident last month at the end of the June we all went to watch a movie in Fox Studios.

“We asked one taxi driver to just drop us (off), and three times he said, ‘f***ing Indians, f***ing Indians’,” Sharma was quoted as saying.

A few days later a stranger abused him on the street.

“He said, ‘you f***ing Indian’ immediately, and I was shocked,” he said.

“I was really shocked because that time, these things actually directly attack you on your mind.

“At that time you feel so much lack of confidence and everything … you can recover from these things, but it takes time.

“So personally for me I think the situation is getting worse rather than getting better.”

Krishna is in Cairns to take part in meetings with delegates who attended this week’s Pacific Islands Forum.

He will meet Prime Minister Kevin Rudd before further talks with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith.

Sharma says he wants his minister to ask Rudd for “a proper community engagement of international students and the local community”.