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India Issues Advisory To Its Students In Australia

In the wake of unabated assaults and killing of its citizens in Australia, India on Tuesday issued an advisory asking its students studying or planning to study in that country asking them to take certain
PTI January 06, 2010 11:14 IST
PTI

In the wake of unabated assaults and killing of its citizens in Australia, India on Tuesday issued an advisory asking its students studying or planning to study in that country asking them to take certain basic precautions to ensure their security.

Pointing to several incidents of robbery and assault on Indians in Australia, particularly in Melbourne including the killing of a young Indian on January 2, the advisory said Indian students studying in Australia as also those planning to study there are advised that they should take certain "basic precautions in being alert to their own security while moving around."

"These incidents are continuing to occur despite efforts by the local police to step up anti-crime measures, and are occurring all over Melbourne without any discernable pattern or rationale behind them", the advisory issued by the External Affairs Ministry said.

It asked the students to ensure that someone knows where they were going and at what time they were expected to return, not to carry more cash on person than what is required, not to make it obvious that they are in possession of expensive items, such as ipods or laptops.

The advisory, which also gave details of the welfare officers in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne for students to contact, also asked them to always carry some identification with them as well as details of who should be contacted in an emergency.

"If in danger, dial 000 to get police help. In case you have a complaint, get in touch with the officer responsible for students welfare in the High Commission or the Consulate nearest to you", it added.

The advisory asks Indian students not to travel alone late at night and if travelling alone should make sure that they keep to well-lit, populated areas as far as possible.

While the majority of Indian students studying in Australia, especially those enrolled in universities and reputable institutions, have a positive experience of living and studying in Australia, the number of incidents of assault as well as of robbery has been on the rise in recent months.

"Increasingly so, the acts of violence, are often accompanied by verbal abuse, fuelled by alcohol and drugs," the advisory said.

This has has affected not only Indian students but also members of the larger Indian community in Australia, it added.

It "cautions Indian students who are planning to study in Australia that there have been several incidents of robbery and assault on Indians in Australia, particularly in Melbourne, which has seen an increase in violence on its streets in recent years, with the offenders suspected to be mainly young people in their teens and early 20s.

The most recent incident of this kind has been the fatal stabbing of a 21-year-old Indian in Melbourne on January 2 "as he was walking to his place of work late at night from a train station through a public park."

According to reports, nearly 100 cases of attacks on Indians have been reported in Australia in 2009 as against 17 incidents of assaults in 2008.