Indian media urged to be objective

MELBOURNE: A senior Australian official accused the Indian media and some government representatives today of making unbalanced comments about highly publicised attacks on Indian nationals in the country.

A string of violent attacks since last year has been widely reported in India, with some outlets claiming they were racially motivated. Some senior Indian officials have said Australia should do more to protect Indian nationals in the country, and Canberra has sent several senior ministers to New Delhi to try to ease tensions.

The Australian government has repeatedly condemned the attacks, but has urged people to reserve judgment on possible motives until police investigations are complete.

Police have since charged an Indian man who claimed he was the victim of an attack with faking the story to back a false insurance claim, and suspects in the killing of another Indian man were revealed to be Indian themselves.

Victoria state Premier John Brumby said today he hoped the Indian media and “to a lesser extent some representatives in the Indian government” had taken note of the developments.

“I hope that there is some balance to the debate, some balance to the reporting in India and certainly to date that balance hasn’t been there,” said Brumby, whose state has seen most of the attacks on Indians.

Jaspreet Singh, 29, of Melbourne, appeared in court today on charges of making a false police report and criminal damage with a view to gaining a financial advantage. He did not enter a plea and was released on bail. Singh told police he was parking his car when four men approached him, pushed him against the car, poured a fluid on him and set him on fire. Singh was burnt on his arms, chest and face. But Detective Senior Constable Danielle O’Keefe told the court that arson chemists and hospital staff had determined Singh’s injuries and damage to his clothes and car were not consistent with his story.