Toeing a line different from that of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, his nephew Van Thanh Rudd has said the attacks on Indian students in his country were “racially motivated.”

“These attacks on Indians are racially motivated, I have no doubt in my mind about that. Australians are racist,” Mr. Rudd said in an interview to the Outlook magazine.

Thrity-five-year-old Rudd, leader of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, created a stir on January 26, the Australian national day, when he walked into the Melbourne Park wearing the infamous Ku Klux Klan outfit to protest the attacks on Indian students. He was fined Australian $234 by the Victorian police.

‘Culture of racism’

Asked whether racism was limited to certain sections, Mr. Rudd said: “It is more widespread than we want to accept. There is a culture of racism that comes from our schools, our education system. As a son of a Vietnamese mother, I too experienced racial abuse in school.”

Terming the decision to allow foreign students to study in Australia a “marriage of convenience,” he said, “You need the students because you earn the revenue, and you need a lot of your work to be done by them. But you also want to treat them as refugees. You discriminate against them.”

Mr. Rudd said his choice of the Ku Klux Klan mask was inspired by a cartoon in an Indian newspaper.

“It was already in the public domain and I wanted to use it to drive the point home. I share the cartoonist’s view that this was the most effective way of highlighting the fact that Indian students here are subject to racially-motivated attacks,” he said.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said that he did not want to term the attacks racial.

He said they were regrettable but should be seen in the context of broader incidents of violence against locals and students of other ethnic groups.

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