Piling upon the embarrassment of the Australian authorities, some miscreants set on fire an Indian youth in Essendon in Melbourne's north-west in the small hours of Saturday.
Police said it was believed Jaspreet Singh, 29, and his wife left a dinner party in Essendon between 1.30am and 2am and drove to their nearby home in Grice Cres.
AdvertisementAs the man was getting out of the car, four men attacked him, pushed him back against the vehicle and poured an unknown fluid on him.
One of the men then ignited the fluid with a lighter before all four men fled.
The victim then allegedly ran from the car while peeling off his clothes.
The man suffered burns to 15 per cent of his body including his arms, chest and face. He has since been removed to a local hospital, where his condition is said to be stable.
Meantime the Victorian police had a hard time fending off speculations of yet another racist attack.
A police spokeswoman said investigators did not yet know of any motive or circumstances surrounding the Essendon attack.
"They don't believe it was racially motivated at this stage," she said.
The incident is being investigated by the arson and explosives squad.
The attack comes a week after the stabbing death of 21-year-old Indian graduate Nitin Garg in a Yarraville park.
Jaspreet Singh is on a spouse visa, it is reported. For some strange reason, it is in Melbourne that Indian students seem to be regularly targeted by hoodlums, for quite sometime now.
The education industry which thrives on the influx of foreign students, especially from China and Australia, is dismayed.
And the state and federal governments have been having trying to hard to convice the world that their country is safe for anyone and they would come down hard on thugs behind such attacks. Even raids are ordered to flush out arms, still the incidents continue.
Several Indian students in Australia have said that they are too afraid to walk the streets at night following reports of repeated hate crimes against the community. They said that they feared becoming targets of racially motivated violence.
'We are careful not to walk the streets after dark. We are not safe because there are people here, who think Indians should not be in Australia,' The Daily Telegraph quoted Bharat Chauhan, an accounting student in Australia, as saying.
Another Indian national Shraddha Patel said that she came to Australia in 2008 to take advantage of the better study opportunities, but emphasized that some locals were insecure about their jobs being taken up by Indian students.
"They think that Indians are here to take their jobs," Patel said.
According to police, 1,447 Indians were victims of reported crime in the year ending July 2008 in Melbourne [ Images ], but the Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) believes the true figure is several times higher.