India Summons Australian Envoy, Conveys Concern Over Bias

New Delhi, Oct 9 (IANS) India Saturday summoned Australian High Commissioner Peter Varghese over a racist email in Victoria state and handed over a demarche expressing serious concern over "entrenched" bias among a section of its police officers.

Varghese was summoned at the external affairs ministry over reports that police officers in Victoria had been caught joking in a racist email about the electrocution of a train passenger in India.

The officers circulated video footage of the electrocution of a man who was travelling on the roof of a crowded train in India and suggested it could be a way to fix Melbourne's Indian students' problem, according to a report in the Herald Sun.

"It was conveyed to him (Australian high commissioner) that such an entrenched bias among sections of law enforcers towards the Indian community is a matter of serious concern," said a statement issued by the MEA.

"Such behaviour and attitudes had no place in any society," it added.

Varghese was conveyed the Indian government's concerns by Vijaya Latha Reddy, the ministry's secretary (east).

India "hoped" that Australia would take "necessary and effective measures to address concerns regarding the safety of all people of Indian origin in Australia".

According to the statement, the high commissioner told Indian officials that Australia also condemned the incident. He also handed over copies of the statements already made by the premier of Victoria and the chief commissioner of the Victoria police in this regard.

Chief Commissioner Simon Overland said the emails were "disturbing, offensive and gross".

Premier John Brumby Friday criticised the circulation of the racist material.

"This is completely offensive and contrary to the views and values at the heart of the Victorian community - tolerance and respect," he was quoted as saying.

Federation of Indian Students spokesman Gautam Gupta said: "It is outrageous that police officers would joke about the death of anyone. I am really shocked. This is humour in very, very bad taste."

The newspaper said some of the force's highest-ranked officers have been implicated in the scandal, which also involves circulation of pornographic material.

Three superintendents were nabbed during an investigation into the circulation of inappropriate emails through the police computer system. Several inspectors have also been caught.


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