Sri Lankan tensions hit Australia community .....Sinhalease Target by Tamils ????
Racial tensions in Sydney's Sri Lankan community have spilled over, with acid poured over the faces of two sleeping students just hours after brawls involving rival ethnic groups.
At least five men forced their way into the Sinhalese students' home in Alexandra Avenue at Westmead about midnight (AEST) on Sunday.
They threw acid over a 22-year-old man, identified only as Jayasiri, leaving him severely burned and fighting for his life in Concord Hospital in an induced coma.
They also doused 27-year-old Chathuika Weerasinghe in acid before stabbing him in the abdomen and breaking his ankle.
A third man in the house at the time managed to escape uninjured and called police.
The intruders rampaged through the house during the attack, splintering a bedroom door, leaving windows, a coffee table and television smashed and blood splatters on walls and furniture.
The attack followed two brawls on Sunday, both believed to have involved members of the Tamil and Sinhalese communities.
The violence is thought to have been sparked by the Tamil Tigers admitting defeat in their 37-year battle for an independent ethnic homeland in Sri Lanka, which is ruled by the Sinhalese majority.
The Tamil community has been protesting for weeks in Sydney and Canberra over what they say is the genocide of their people.
Police are speaking to Sri Lankan community leaders, and have appealed for witnesses to the politically-motivated unrest to come forward.
"We respect the right of everyone to express their political or social allegiances, however these protests must remain peaceful and free of violence or acts of retaliation by groups with opposing viewpoints," Superintendent Karen Webb said.
Sri Lanka's Consul-General Gothami Indikadahena, who visited the scene of the acid attack on Monday, said Sinhalese people in Australia feared for their safety.
"That is a serious concern which I need to address with the NSW government and the Australian government," she said.
"We want to contain these incidents because we are a united country; we want to live happily here.
"These boys came here just to study because we feel that in Sri Lanka they are not safe because of the terrorists."
Indikadahena said she was disturbed by the attack, and a witness was under protection amid fears of more violence.
Tamil spokeswoman Sam Pari also condemned the attack, saying it was unlikely to have been carried out by a member of her community.
"My own concern is that it could be individuals with their own kind of individual grievances against people," Dr Pari said.
"If it was someone from a Tamil background, then our community would have nothing to do with it because we spoke to everyone and we told them this issue should be left up to the authorities."
She said Tamils too were concerned for their safety.
A distressed neighbour said the three university students targeted were good neighbours and not the sort of people who make trouble.
Another witness told The Sydney Morning Herald the intruders had been screaming in Tamil during the rampage.
Police are investigating possible links between the acid attack and a brawl involving about 100 people outside a Wentworthville supermarket about 4.30pm (AEST) on Sunday.
Five people have now been charged over the fight, which left a police officer concussed and another man injured.
A separate fight, in which Pari alleged a Tamil man was attacked by a group of Sinhalese, broke out about 30 minutes later outside Westmead railway station.
The Tamil man was taken to Westmead hospital suffering lacerations above his right eye and soft tissue damage to some of his limbs.
Indikadahena said the three students were not involved in the brawl, just a few minutes walk from their house.