Australia's government has condemned a newspaper cartoon in India that depicts one of its policemen as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Melbourne has seen a rise in violence against Indian students.

Pic: Delhi Mail Today

The cartoon sends up Victoria state officers after they claimed there is no evidence that the recent stabbing murder of a resident was racially motivated.

Accounting graduate Nitin Garg, 21, originally from the state of Punjab in northern India, was killed last Saturday night on his way to work at a fast food restaurant in Melbourne.

Mr Garg's murder prompted the Indian government to warn of a diplomatic rift unless Australia took stronger action to protect Indian nationals.

The cartoon in the Delhi Mail Today shows a person in a Ku Klux Klan hood wearing a Victoria state police badge against a black background and the words: "We are yet to ascertain the nature of the crime."

Australia's Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard, a Melbourne resident, said the cartoon suggested the country was not doing enough to solve the murder.

"Any suggestion of that kind is deeply, deeply offensive to the police officers involved, and I would absolutely condemn the making of a comment like that," she said.

Police union leader Greg Davies, secretary of Victoria's Police Association, said the cartoon was "highly offensive" to homicide detectives.

"Cartoons in Australia are normally done by people who are either clever or witty, and this one's neither," he said.

Bharat Bhushan, the editor of the Delhi Mail Today, defended the cartoon saying he hoped the angry reaction to it would help reduce crimes against minorities in Australia.

"A cartoonist uses humour to draw a caricature of a real life situation to hammer home a point of view. The cartoon has to be seen in that spirit," he said.

"If the cartoon forces Australians, including the Melbourne Police, to introspect, then the cartoon's purpose will have been served."

There has been a spate of street violence against Indian students in recent months in Melbourne, Australia's second largest city.

Police say that while some attacks on Indians are racially motivated, many are ordinary crimes.

Australia's Government Condemns Indian Cartoon Depicting Australian Policeman As Ku Klux Klan Member | World News | Sky News