Indians are vulnerable because they work long hours to support their education and take late public transport and stay in cheap accommodation which means bad neighbourhoods, Indian students don't have as much money as other Asian students do.
But, having said that, I'm sure some of them were racially motivated as well, just not all of them. Needless to say, it's a sensitive topic.
An Indian newspaper cartoon likening Victoria Police to the Ku Klux Klan has been dismissed as ridiculous, unhelpful and ‘‘just plain stupid’’ by the state’s Police Association.
But bad press will not halt the investigation into the murder of Indian man Nitin Garg, who was fatally stabbed last weekend, Victoria Police Association secretary Greg Davies said.
The cartoon, depicting a Victorian officer in KKK garb, was published in Delhi’s Mail Today newspaper on Tuesday.
Mr Davies said today the cartoon was ‘‘a kick in the guts’’ for investigating officers.
‘‘It will undoubtedly inflame some people in India and it will undoubtedly inflame some people here in Australia but our people will keep their eye on the ball and they’ll get the job done,’’ he told radio 3AW.
Mr Davies said the association would contact its counterpart in India in an attempt to ease tensions.
‘‘I don't know whether they will go in to bat for us. Obviously the media in India are a pretty powerful body but certainly we’re going to try and impress upon them the importance of people keeping a level head,’’ he said.
‘‘This sort of thing is just ridiulous, unhelpful, counterproductive and just plain stupid.’’
Victorian Police Minister Bob Cameron has dismissed the cartoon as ‘‘outrageous’’.
‘‘We are a tolerant place and Victorian police are very tolerant and this business about racism is just wrong,’’ he told 3AW.
Mr Cameron said police examined all evidence related to a crime before drawing any conclusions.
‘‘To accuse the police of having a closed mind when in fact what police have said is ‘we have an open mind to all possibilities’ just demostrates that this is just totally off the table when it comes to common sense.’’
Mr Cameron said the cartoon was counterproductive.
‘‘Accusing each other of racism, it just detracts from the plain reality and that is that there’s a crime and it has to be dealt with.’’
Enraged people took to talkback radio this morning to defend the police and their nation.
‘‘I’m absolutely bloody furious,’’ caller Molly told 3AW.
‘‘It’s about bloody time the hundreds of thousands of Indians living safely and comfortably and successfully in our country stood up for us.’’
African migrant Dan said he was angered by the cartoon.
‘‘As far as racism is concerned, Australia is one of the least racist countries on the planet,’’ he said.
Robert, a police officer, said negative media would not affect the investigation.
‘‘If anyone seriously thinks that Victoria Police homicide squad is not going to thoroughly investigate any homicide based on a cartoon over in India, I think people need to have a bit of a think about what they’re getting upset about - it’s just a cartoon,’’ he said.
‘‘It won’t stop the homicide squad one iota in doing what they have to do and if anyone thinks otherwise, they’re wrong.’’
The international fallout from the murder of Nitin Garg has spread well beyond India, with media outlets in Asia, the Middle East, North America and Europe reporting the trouble in Australia.
The bad press, which until now has largely been confined to India, has raised fears that the damage to Australia's $17 billion international education industry could spread to other countries.
In China, the birthplace of almost a quarter of Australia's international students, the major state-run television network yesterday reported the factually incorrect claim that police had confirmed that the murder of Indian national Ranjodh Singh, whose partially burnt body was found beside a country road in south-west NSW on December 29, was "racially motivated".
The official Chinese newsagency, Xinhua, this week reported that the stabbing murder of Mr Garg, as he made his way to work at a fast-food outlet in Melbourne's west on Saturday night, had taken place "in the wake of a wave of attacks upon Indian students in Australia last year".
In an editorial, Gulf News, of the United Arab Emirates, said "motive based on hatred" was "the common trend" in a number of attacks in urban Australia recently.
"This trend is simply unacceptable," the paper said. "Law enforcement authorities and judicial officials at state and federal level in Australia must take every possible measure to ensure these hate crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. There can be no velvet glove treatment for those who commit heinous crimes."
The Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Irish Times, the Voice of America and The New Zealand Herald were among publications that also produced their own reports on the situation.
The Malaysian Sun published its report under the headline: "Australian Government unable to stop crime against Indians."
As politicians and officials continued to defend Australia as a safe place to study, Australia's high commissioner to India, Peter Varghese, told journalists in New Delhi race may have been a motive for some recent attacks on Indian nationals, particularly where the attackers engaged in racial abuse. But he told a press conference most assaults on Indian students were "opportunistic urban crime".