Melbourne, June 12: Racial attacks on Indian students spread to South Australia with a 22-year-old being allegedly assaulted by a teenager in Adelaide after making “rude” comments about his turban, even as the state premier warned he will not tolerate any form of racism.
Police said the Indian student suffered a broken nose and sore jaw in the incident in Adelaide’s busy market area of Rundle Mall yesterday and that they have arrested a 17-year-old youth in this connection.
The attacker has been bailed to appear in the Adelaide Youth Court.
A bystander said he saw the Indian student punching first, but the student claimed that his attacker started the spat when he hit him on his turban and asked “what’s that on your head?”.
The student, whose requested anonymity, was walking through a local mall with friends when he heard a commotion behind him, local media reported.
The spate of racial attacks against Indians spread to Adelaide, capital city of South Australia, after members of the community were targeted in Melbourne and Sydney.
South Australian Premier Mike Rann described the attack as a “disgrace” and said the state has been welcoming migrants and students from around the world for many years.
“We are seen internationally as one of the safest and most supportive multicultural communities. We will not tolerate any form of racism,” Rann said.
The Indian student said the attacker started a confrontation by making “rude comments” about his turban. Asked if he thought the attack was racially motivated, the student said he had never felt it was a problem in Adelaide. “But what would you call this?”.
However, he said it “would not change his attitude to Adelaide as a good place to live and study.”
In another incident in Adelaide, Pakistani student Yasir Raja, 26, believes his Holden Commodore was torched because of its “Raja” numberplate.
Raja said friends living in the Enfield area had increased security around their homes in fear of racist Raja said he had felt safe since he moved to Adelaide four years ago, he was worried recent racist attacks interstate could encourage similar incidents here.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has decided to convene a round table to discuss the attacks on June 28. State Further Education Minister Michael O’Brien said the Government had established a task force to investigate ways to improve the experience of foreign students.
South Australia’s student population is more than 27,700 and by 2014 the Government plans to increase the number to 62,000. International education is worth more than USD 740 million annually to the state and is the fourth largest export industry.