Australian institute studying attacks on Indians: Minister

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) The Australian Institute of Criminology is studying the recent attacks on Indian students there and will come up with an exhaustive report soon to help the government deal with the issue better, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said here Wednesday.

‘Studies done by our police on the attacks have given us statistics but were not exhaustive. The Australian Institute of Criminology which is a private body is assessing the situation and studying the attacks to establish a better understanding of the attacks as well as see if the perception that Indian students are targeted is actually true,’ he told reporters.

‘These studies will also give us a deeper understanding if we (government) are doing all we can to address the issue,’ he said after interacting with students at the St. Stephen’s College in the capital.

Reaching across to the Indian government and the people here, Smith said Australia is a safe place to go for higher studies is one of the main aims of his trip. He is on a three-day visit to India.

According to Smith, there are around 100,000 Indian students studying in Australia. The Indian diaspora there is roughly 500,000 strong.

‘Besides studying, some students there also work part time. These students have been identified as being at higher risk. Therefore, strong advice is being sent to them to be careful while travelling late at night in public transport,’ Smith told students of the college in the morning assembly.

‘As I have said earlier, a small portion of the assaults on Indian students have a racial overtone and we absolutely condemn it. There are 70 investigations underway on these assaults. We have zero tolerance for racist attacks,’ he added.

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