The latest violence in Australia was reported committed against a 25 year-old Indian student who is now in critical condition. The man was stabbed with a screwdriver after gatecrashers to a birthday party turned violent. One of the witnesses said, "When they entered the party and they started abusing - using racial abuses like 'you black Indians,' like that stuff."

Crimes like these have been reported all across Australia and the Indian community in the country fear that they are being targeted for racial attacks. In the previous year alone, there have been about seventy attacks on Indians reported in Melbourne alone. All have said that the attacks were racially motivated. This has been exacerbated by claims that these racially motivated attacks have been largely ignored by the authorities despite the steady increase in the numbers of muggings, bashings and other violent crimes.

Police authorities have said that the racial prejudice conclusion is an overreaction. Chief Simon Overland of the Victoria Police Force said that Indian students have become easy targets for those with criminal intent. "It's partly violence against Indian students," he said but quickly added that, "it's escalating robberies and we have used the term 'soft-target robberies.' Now, the Indian students have taken that as referring directly to them; it's not. What we have seen is that robberies are now happening more directed against people in the street, directed against people who are wandering around with laptop computers, mobile phones, iPods, cash. And, if they're alone, they're vulnerable."

About 3,000 individuals have taken part in a rally in Melbourne seeking greater protection by the police authorities. Many other protests have turned ugly with more than a dozen people arrested for clashing with anti-riot police. In reaction, Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister has condemned these senseless acts of violence and has formed a special task force focused to resolve these acts of violence. The former chief of Australia's Special Forces, Mr. Duncan Lewis, heads the special task force and he is currently one of the country's most senior national security advisers. The taskforce also includes senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Attorney General's Department together with the Departments of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Also integral to the task force is the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

As there are nearly 90,000 Indian students currently in Australia, their effect on the local economy can be quite enormous. In the past year alone, these students have generated millions of dollars for the educational and local economies in the country. As the violence escalates, the effects of the violence have extended beyond the borders of Australia. The current situation has caused friction between Canberra and New Delhi with the Indian High Commissioner openly demanding greater protection for Indians in the country.