"The circumstances of parking a car randomly on a side street and just some people approaching him are a bit strange and it's highly unlikely, therefore, to be a targeted attack on any individual," he said.

'Racist' police

The attack closely followed the murder of an Indian man, Nitin Garg, in the city on January 2, which prompted an Indian newspaper to print a cartoon likening Australian police to the Ku Klux Klan.

New Dehli's Mail Today defended its cartoon, insisting the Melbourne force was a "racist organisation ... because it seems it is not acting fast enough, or seriously
enough, on the attacks on Indian students," Bharat Bhushan, the newspaper's editor, said in a statement.

Attacks against Indian students mainly in Melbourne, led to protests by students and strained bilateral ties last year, prompting Australian ministers to visit India to offer assurances that everything was being done to stop the attacks.

Australian universities also sought to reassure students and their families that Australia was a safe place to study.

However, a recent study forecast a 20 per cent drop in Indian students in 2010 due to the attacks.