Australia’s cricketers urged to condemn racist attacks on Indians


Sydney : Shane Warne and other cricket superstars were Monday urged to condemn the latest assault on an Indian student in Australia.

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The call from Gautam Gupta, spokesman for the Federation of Indian Students in Australia, followed the stabbing death Saturday of 21-year-old accounting graduate Nitin Garg.

“There is a lot of frustration within the Indian community with the way this is being handled,” Gupta said, calling on Warne and other cricketing heroes who have made fortunes in India to break their silence on the issue.

“They should jump in and defend Indian students in Australia,” Gupta said. “Shane Warne is an icon in India. He has millions of fans.”

Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna described the killing as a “heinous crime on humanity”, warning that the latest in a string of assaults would harm Australia’s reputation as a safe place to study.

“It certainly will have some bearing on the bilateral ties between our two countries,” Krishna said.

Police investigating the stabbing in a Melbourne park say it is too early to describe it as a hate crime. The government has also declined to speculate on the motives.

“This is a nation that welcomes international students,” Education Minister Julia Gillard said. “We want to make them welcome. This is a welcoming and accepting country.”

More than 90,000 Indians are studying in Australia, with Melbourne the most popular city for Indian students. Most hope to gain permanent residency.