A delegation of senior Akali leaders from Punjab led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, which called on the Australian High Commission on Wednesday, said the situation in Australia had assumed proportions of a grave human tragedy.

‘Speedy intervention needed’

According to an official release here, the delegation sought concrete steps to safeguard the life and property of Punjabis against an increasing number of racist attacks in Australia.

In a memorandum that was received by High Commissioner Peter Varghese in New Delhi, the delegation sought a speedy government intervention to ensure a quick and effective response to the situation.

Mr. Varghese assured the delegation that the Australian government was fully alive to Indian concerns, especially those of the people of Punjab.

The memorandum, seeking to draw the attention of the Australian government, pointed out that the latest incidents involved two youths from Punjab — Nitin Garg, a student, was stabbed in Melbourne, and the partially burnt body of Gurmail Singh, a farmer, was recovered in New South Wales.

These incidents, the latest in the long chain of such racist atrocities against Indians in general and Punjabis in particular, have sent shock waves through the entire State, the Akali leaders pointed out.

‘Not doing enough’

The delegation added that there was a widespread feeling among the people here that the Australian authorities had not done enough to provide deterrence to the racist and lawless elements, who were emboldened to step up their heinous crimes against innocent immigrants, the release said.

Former Union Minister and the Akali Dal’s secretary-general, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, general secretaries Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Prem Singh Chandumajra, senior vice-president Ranjit Singh Brahampura, and Member of Parliament Naresh Gujral constituted the delegation.