Australia on Tuesday asked India not to whip up 'hysteria' over the killing of a 21-year-old youth from the country, saying such incidents occur all over the world including Delhi and Mumbai, close on the heels of India warning that these attacks may have a bearing on ties.
There was no evidence to suggest that the attack on Nitin Garg, a student who was fatally stabbed in the abdomen on Sunday while on his way to his part-time job in a restaurant, was racially-motivated, acting Foreign Minister Simon Crean said, adding that it was one of a spate of stabbings in Melbourne over the Christmas period.
"It so happens that one of the victims is Indian. Melbourne is not the only city in the world where this happens. It also happens in Delhi and in Mumbai," Crean was quoted as saying by The Age.
"It's an unfortunate fact of life. So far as the victim is concerned and his parents, our deepest sympathy for them, and we're doing everything we can to track down the perpetrators," he added.
About comments by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who termed the killing of Garg as a 'brutal attack', Crean said he hoped "wiser heads will prevail". Krishna had also warned that such incidents could have a bearing on bilateral ties.
"We have been through this type of issue before and from the prime minister down, we have been talking with our Indian partners, and reassuring them that this country doesn't condone nor do we believe that these are racially-based attacks," Crean was quoted as saying.
Victorian Acting Premier Rob Hulls also called on the Indian government to show restraint in its response to the killing. Asked about the possibility of India issuing a advisory against traveling to Australia, especially Melbourne, Hulls told the paper: "People should just show some restraint and allow the police to get on with the job of investigating this callous crime."