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Despite assurances, 2 Indians attacked in Aus

Last updated on: January 22, 2010 10:51 IST

Two Indians, including a taxi driver, were attacked in separate incidents overnight in Brisbane, a day after Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that the assaults on Indians in the country were 'regrettable'.

A 25-year-old youth was assaulted and robbed while using a phone booth near his home in Macgregor in south Brisbane on Thursday night, police officials were quoted as saying. The youth, whose identity was not disclosed, was punched in the head twice and his wallet stolen.

The police were searching for the attacker, described as being tall, of Pacific Islander appearance, with black curly hair, the report said.

In a separate incident, a taxi driver was attacked early on Friday morning after he got into an argument with two men in Carindale, in Brisbane's southeast.

The men punched the driver in the face several times and smashed the car's windscreen. The driver was taken to the Princess Alexandra hospital for cuts to his face and swelling to his right eye.

Meanwhile, the government again stressed that there was no indication that the attacks were racially motivated. Acting Premier Andrew Fraser said he wants to assure Indian nationals that Australia is a safe place.

"Queensland and Australia remain a very safe place," Fraser said, adding, "There's no doubt this has been an issue in the international arena. That's why we want to emphasise, that this is a welcoming, tolerant society".

"No one endorses any violence against any individual. Regrettably, there have been some incidents recently, let's accept that, but let's put it into context, and also in the context of, let's call it, the broader incidences of violence to students of other ethnic backgrounds, acts of violence against Australian students, acts of violence in particular parts of our large cities at any given time of the day," Prime Minister Rudd said on Thursday

Nearly 100 cases of attacks on Indians were reported in Australia in 2009. Nitin Garg, a 21-year-old student who was stabbed to death by unidentified assailants, was the first victim of such attacks this year.

Natasha Chaku In Melbourne
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