Melbourne: It has been a long ordeal for Manrajwinder Singh and his family. The latest victim of targeted attack on Indians in Melbourne was released from hospital over two months after he was admitted in intensive care for injuries he sustained in a brutal attack.
Police released CCTV footage which shows the 20-year-old being punched in the face and beaten with a stick by teenagers. Police say the attackers were a part of a gang 'KYR' or Kill Your Rivals.
Manrajwinder's shocked family doesn't know whether to stay back in Australia or move back to India. Doctors say it will take at least a year for him to recover. His younger brother Yadwinder Singh, also a citizen of Australia, says the attack has forced him to think if it is a safe country. "I will be staying here till the treatment of my brother, but after that, I may just decide to leave Australia," says Yadwinder.
But this is not an isolated case. Manrajwinder's attack was the latest in a series of attacks on Indians in 2009 and 2010 that triggered massive protests by the community. Australia - and Melbourne city in particular - was accused of being racist and unsafe.
Since then, there have been constant efforts to bring the two countries together and bridge any communication barriers. But such attacks have a damaging effect on those efforts. "I think it has definitely had a big impact on what is Australia's third largest export, which is education", says Ruchir Punjabi of the Australia-India Youth Dialogue
But things seem to be changing slowly. "There is extra police provided, more student counseling and welfare services and much greater dialogue between the communities. We have seen a significant improvement in the relationship," says Bernard Philip, Australian Deputy High Commissioner in India
"Every single incident of violence affecting the Indian students or people of Indian nationality is a source of concern for us. We are working very closely with Australian authorities," says Biren Nanda, Australia High Commissioner of India.
Though the race attacks have come down significantly, for victims and their families, the assurances are too little too late as they look to the two countries to come down heavily on the perpetrators.