New Delhi: Outraged over the racist slurs by top Australian Police officers, India on Saturday summoned its High Commissioner and sought an explanation on the issue, saying such an attitude was “shocking” and a “matter of serious concern”.
High Commissioner Peter Varghese described the incident as “unacceptable” and said one officer has left the police services and another one involved in the incident is facing disciplinary action in the matter.
The Victorian police officers have been caught in a racist e-mail scandal joking about the electrocution of an Indian train passenger and suggesting that it could be “a way to fix the Indian student problem” in Melbourne.
In a strong reaction External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, who is currently in Bangalore, said, “Implication of police officers in such behaviour, specially vis-a vis Indian community in Australia, is shocking and a matter of serious concern.”
“Such attitude has no place in any society. We understand investigations are already underway. We sincerely hope that apart from taking action against concerned officials, Australian authorities will also take necessary and effective measures to address concerns about safety of all people of Indian origin in Australia,” he said.
Verghese said the Australian and Victorian governments along with the Victorian police condemned the incident in the strongest possible terms.
“The Australian government and the Victorian government, the Commissioner of the Victorian Police condemn it in the strongest possible terms.
“This is an email which is offensive…it is unacceptable and it is completely contrary to the principles of respect and tolerance we seek to embed in Australian society,” he told reporters after meeting Indian MEA officials.
Krishna had directed the Ministry to seek explanation from Varghese after emails containing racial slurs against Indians by top Victorian police officers was made public by the Australian media.
Varghese said the Commissioner of Police in Victoria had said that he would be taking the matter “very seriously” and disciplinary process was underway.
“It involves two officers. One officer has left the police force while the investigation was underway. The second officer is facing serious disciplinary charges,” he added.
Varghese said it was “unfortunate” that the incident had detracted from the number of positive steps Australia had been taking both at the government and the police levels to strengthen the links with the Indian student community.
He noted that the Victorian Police had put more resources into ensuring the safety of Indian students and had set up a special reference group to increase communication with the Indian students.
The Victorian government had set up a 24×7 centre where the students could come for assistance for any matter, he said.
“These are all very positive steps and we will continue to pursue those because we are determined to ensure that the Indian students and guests in Australia are well treated,” he added.
Pointing out that the two policemen were not senior policemen, Varghese said he did not think the entire Victorian police force should be tarred with the actions of two individuals, who clearly engaged in unacceptable behaviour.