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Australia hands over race attacks dossier to India

By Natasha Chaku
January 27, 2010 11:55 IST
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The Australian government has handed over to India a police dossier of high-profile attacks on Indians over the past year, which reveals that nearly half of the attackers were juveniles.

The dossier, prepared by the Victoria police, was handed over in recent weeks, after Foreign Minister Stephen Smith telephoned his Indian counterpart S M Krishna on January 11 to express his condolences over the murder of Indian student Nitin Garg in Yarraville.

"It shows nearly half of those arrested between March 2009 and January 5 -- three days after the Garg killing -- were under 18," The Age newspaper reported.

The dossier reveals that among the 18 high-profile cases, two cases of assault reported in May and June last year remained unsolved, the paper said. While three cases remained unsolved, 33 people have been arrested over the remaining 13 cases.

Sources said the Australian government initially resisted providing more information to the Indian administration, as it deemed racial appearance to be a limited indicator of ethnicity, because it was only based on a subjective police assessment. The dossier claimed that people described as Indians could originate from countries such as Mauritius and Fiji.

The under-age attackers involved in incidents last year included four of five youths who assaulted and robbed two Indians at a train station in March and four youths who attacked Indian student Sourabh Sharma on a train in May. One of the two attackers, who asked an Indian man for money in Footscray in November, stabbed him 14 times after he offered them 20 cents.

The revelations come as police on Wednesday charged five men over a racist attack on two Indian students in the city on Monday night. The police earlier said the alleged attackers were of Asian appearance.

Chief Commissioner Simon Overland said the victims were allegedly subjected to racial taunts. "It's terrible that's happened, we don't condone violence, we don't condone racism," he said.

The police said one of the victims, 18, was pushed to the ground and kicked by several attackers at approximately 10.20 pm in Swanston Street. He had to undergo microsurgery after his ear was cut with a weapon. His friend, 22, was punched to the ground. 

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Natasha Chaku In Melbourne
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