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Sikh student latest victim of racial attack in Australia

June 30, 2009 12:57 IST

In yet another racial attack on Indian students in Australia, a 22-year-old Sikh youth was assaulted by a group of six teenagers, who tried to remove his turban and cut his hair. Resham Singh, a student who came from Punjab six months ago, became the 20th victim within a month, when he was attacked on Monday at Dandenong Station in Melbourne.

Singh, who could not speak English properly, explained in Punjabi, "They first abused me and left. They again came back with more people and also got a pair of scissors along with them. They tried to remove my turban and cut my hair."

"My friends tried to save me," he said, adding "the education agent back in India never gave me any information abour how hard life will be here."

The attackers were later arrested by the police. Victoria police confirmed the arrest of two persons but withheld their identities.

"The youths from Dandenong -- aged 13 and 15 years -- were charged with intentionally causing serious injury, recklessly causing serious injury and assault in company," a police spokesperson said.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has declared 'zero tolerance' against attacks on students including Indians. The Victorian police has also announced an initiative to deploy stronger patrolling around train stations to curb any such crime.

"I came to know about the job market and other information, like safety and security issues, from my college friends after I reached here," Singh commented.

He said though the episode has shaken him, he will continue his course and eventually get permanent residency in the country. Singh pointed out that he had to take up the job of trolley pushing through his friend as he was not getting any jobs due to his appearance.

"No one was ready to hire me as I have a beard and a turban," he claimed.

Interestingly, most of the students who have been attacked in Australia are students studying in cookery, hospitality or community service courses. 

Natasha Chaku in Melbourne
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