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Australia: Victims blame media, say attacks not racial

June 09, 2009 11:30 IST

Indian students in Australia, reeling under a spate of attacks, say the media back home has done more damage to their interests than protecting them.

Speaking to rediff.com from Melbourne on the phone, Mandeep Malik, who went to Australia for a course in community welfare, said the attacks "could not be termed racial".

Those indulging in violence against Indians, he said, belong to the 19-20 age group. "They do such attacks as they get some sort of pleasure out it. It is more for fun sake," he said over the phone.

Malik shared an apartment with Baljinder Singh, who received as many as 19 stiches while he was attacked by teenagers in Melbourne last week.

"I was returning home last Monday evening when the robbers brandished a knife and asked me to hand over money to them. Even before I could realize what happened, they stabbed me in the stomach and fled," Baljinder told rediff.com over the phone.

"Right now I am speaking to you from one of the Melbourne suburbs. My father would be with me by the weekend. I am not sure which day or flight they have booked their tickets. My mother will join me later," Baljinder said, sounding a bit nervous.

Though Mandeep Malik, a Haryana native, has completed his course, he has chosen to stay back to pay back the bank loans for higher studies.

Baljinder and Mandeep said though such incidents took place in the past as well, but this time it was the media glare which brought "our plight before the world".

Australian newspapers, they said, did not give any importance to such incidents.

India sends nearly 1 lakh students to Australia – out of which 50,000 are from Haryana.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi