Australian envoy summoned over cops’ racist email

Saturday, October 9, 2010

NEW DELHI - Australian High Commissioner Peter Varghese was Saturday summoned by the external affairs ministry over a racist email police made in Victoria state, officials said.

Varghese was summoned over reports that police officers in Victoria had been caught joking in a racist email about the electrocution of a train passenger in India.

The officers circulated video footage of the death of a man who was travelling on the roof of a crowded train in India and suggested it could be a way to fix Melbourne’s Indian students’ problem, according to a report in the Herald Sun.

When the train stopped at a station the man stood up and touched an overhead power cable. Onlookers screamed as he was electrocuted.

The email containing the shocking video began circulating in the Victoria police computer system and racist comments were added, suggesting “this might be a way to fix the Indian student problem”.

Chief Commissioner Simon Overland said the emails were “disturbing, offensive and gross”.

Premier John Brumby Friday criticised the circulation of the racist material.

“This is completely offensive and contrary to the views and values at the heart of the Victorian community - tolerance and respect,” he was quoted as saying.

Federation of Indian Students spokesman Gautam Gupta said: “It is outrageous that police officers would joke about the death of anyone. I am really shocked. This is humour in very, very bad taste.”

The newspaper said some of the force’s highest-ranked officers have been implicated in the scandal, which also involves pornographic material.

Three superintendents were nabbed during an investigation into the circulation of inappropriate emails through the police computer system. Several inspectors have also been caught.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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