Thousands of Indian students come to Australia every year to live, study and work. But the multi-billion dollar industry is now under threat amid growing concern over violent racist attacks around the country.
20 May 2009 - 7:30 PM  UPDATED 23 Aug 2013 - 11:52 AM

Many of the students now say they do not feel safe in the country and have called on the Federal government to take firm action against racial assaults.

Sourabh Sharma came to Australia full of optimism for a new life, but the 21 year old is now bruised, scared and wanting to go back home, to India.

"I\'m still shocked, I can\'t believe this could happen to me," he told SBS.

Two weeks ago when the International student was catching his usual evening train to suburban Melbourne, he was robbed and attacked.

"The people who bashed me, I know what kind of people they are... they don\'t go to work, they don\'t study... their clothes are very untidy... I feel bad for them as well".

Today is the first time he has caught a train since the incident.

"I was so nervous in the morning before I entered the train... when I sit in the train and that station come where it happened, I was looking everywhere," he said.

Because of his injuries, he has been advised by a doctor not to work for up to a month. But with school fees, rent and living expenses, Sourabh says he has no choice but to return to his job.

With the story making headlines in India, there are now concerns that Australia\'s $3.5 million campaign to attract Indian students could suffer.

Sourabh Sharma isn\'t the only victim.

There are now many cases around the country of international students being attacked.

Another group of young Indian men have all experienced verbal or physical abuse.

They say it might be because they\'re perceived to be soft targets.

"You bloody indian what are you doing here? You are not part of Australia," Sumit Burdani was told.

The Federation of Indian Students says police have failed to curb attacks against Indians.

But the Victorian Police which has established a joint taskforce with the Indian community to tackle the issue, says progress is being made to assist all international students.

"Looking at education of students and young people in this area - in hope that it will flow onto a wider group of young people," Inspector Ian Geddes said.

A helpline to assist Indian students who are victims of crime has now been launched in Victoria.