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Oz cooperating with us to check racial attacks: India
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

Members of the National Arya Students Association burn an effigy in protest against the recent attacks on Indian students in Australia in New Delhi
Members of the National Arya Students Association burn an effigy in protest against the recent attacks on Indian students in Australia in New Delhi on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

New Delhi, June 3
India today expressed serious concern over the recent racial attacks on Indian students in Melbourne but appreciated the manner in which the Australian Government was dealing with these hate crimes. “We are concerned (about the safety of Indian students, they are our nationals but the primary responsibility is that of the Australian government,” Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told reporters here.

He noted that that the two countries were in contact at the highest level to deal with the situation arising from the racial attacks. ‘’The Australian Government is cooperating with us.” Meanwhile, the Australian universities today joined their government in condemning the attacks on Indian students. Glen Withers, the chief executive of Universities Australia - a body representing 38 universities, regretted at the attacks on Indian students. “Injury to even one student is totally unacceptable and a strong and constructive response to any attack is essential,” Withers said in a statement released by the Australian High Commission here.

“We know through surveys of the many thousands of enrolled and graduating students that the overwhelming experience of international students is positive. This should be the outcome for every student,” he said.

“The capacity of universities to provide right support for students will be strengthened by the government's actions," he added.

Another consortium of five other universities, the Australian Technology Network (ATN), also decried the attacks. “The ATN is committed to provide all of our international students with a positive experience both on our campuses and within our communities,” said

Ross Milbourne, ATN chair and president of University of Technology, Sydney. The universities have pledged their support to the Australian government's proposed round table with international students on key issues of accommodation, transport and safety, the statement said.

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Education market may face heat
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 3
Recent attacks on Indian students in Australia are being felt here with the prospective students being a worried lot, parents harried about their future and universities from Down Under trying to give out security assurances.

Though it seems to have a little effect on people wanting to travel Down Under, they have expressed concern over attacks on Indian students there.

Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) president Rajji Rai told The Tribune that at present there had not been any fallout from the slump in the number of outbound travellers from India to Australia. But he did not rule out cancellations if the situation continues in Australia.

Rai, however, apprehended that there would be a major fallout of the situation on number of students trying to seek admission in Australian Universities.

“There is a very serious apprehension that a large number of students wanting to study in Australia may drop their decision if the Australian government does not act to stop the menace,” he said.

He pointed out that July-August was the admission season in Australia and “if the attacks continue, 20 to 30 per cent students seeking admissions in Australian universities may back out”.

He has also written to the Australian High Commission here expressing his concern on the issue.

Meanwhile, the association on its part has provided the parents of Sravan Kumar Theerthala, 25-year-old Indian student who was allegedly assaulted in Melbourne along with three others, with tickets to Australia.

But the effects of the attacks in Australia are already being felt here. Nishant Thakur, a student who had been looking forward to pursuing studies in Australia, is now skeptical about going there.

As a result of the growing apprehension, an Australian university has taken steps to assure the Indian students of their security.

Deakin University has brought forward cricketer Brett Lee, who is very popular in India, to assure the Indian students of a safe and secure environment to study in this country.

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