Only 23 of 152 Oz attacks racist, Ministry tells LS

While assaults on Indians in Australia triggered a domestic outrage and threatened to strain the diplomatic ties between the two countries, information available with the government shows that out of the 152 incidents of attacks on Indians that have taken place since last year, only 23 were racially motivated.

Majority of the attacks were classified as robbery or theft attempts, while some were the result of verbal or other disputes and the rest were merely termed as assaults. A detailed report on each of the attacks that took place since January 2009 in various Australian provinces was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

According to the report tabled by the Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry, 122 attacks have happened in Victoria while the rest were reported from South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland. Majority of the victims were Indian students and taxi drivers.

Although the Australian police have confirmed most of the attacks some were reported by the victims or are eyewitness accounts they have made arrests in only 16 cases. Investigations are on in a handful of cases while the status is not clear in majority of the incidents.

The incidents of racial abuse were reported from Brisbane, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The report compiled by the Indian High Commission in Brisbane makes it clear that only 23 attacks had racial overtones. In these cases, the attackers hurled racial abuses, made threats and even resorted to anti-India remarks.

While New Delhi said attacks on Indians might impact ties with Australia, Canberra has been maintaining that the assaults were criminal in nature and only a handful were racially motivated.

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