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Victoria police vetting delays varsity report on racism

Source: PTI
February 10, 2010 16:27 IST
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An Australian university research paper providing new evidence that Indian students in Australia feel racially targeted has been delayed for over two months by the Victoria police as it took time to vet its findings.

The police was given 60 days to review the report's findings, delaying its release from November last year to February 16.

The project was launched in June last year in what the university termed at the time as a fast-track attempt to gather survey and interview evidence from students and community stakeholders.

The delays were seen as frustrating for some researchers targeting an early December release, The Australian newspaper quoted a source as saying.

However, the Victoria University said its decision to wait for police approval was important, as police participation had resulted in a more comprehensive and detailed report.

VU acting vice-chancellor Linda Rosenman said the university would have preferred to release the report earlier but felt it was important to have the police participate.

"There was never any pressure on Victoria University to amend or alter our findings," she said.

Gautam Gupta, founder of the Federation of Indian Students of Australia, described the delay as unfortunate and suspicious in an environment where the police and government have been criticised for not more openly acknowledging racism as a factor in the violence.

"Now we are talking about a six-month old report when the situation has deteriorated," Gupta said.

Senior Sergeant Simon Foster of the Victoria Police research co-ordinating committee said the report was 210-pages long and had to be reviewed by a number of different areas of the organisation.

"When the Victoria police agrees to provide information, data or access to interview members for external research projects, they are given a 60-day period to review the draft report and provide feedback," he said.

Over 100 cases of attacks on Indians have been reported since last year in Australia, mostly in Victoria, and the issue has been taken up by top representatives of the Indian government with their Australian counterparts.
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