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Killing of an Indian sparks fury in Aus
Melbourne, Jan 4 (IANS):
Published on 4 Jan. 2010 10:38 PM IST
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An Indian youth fatally stabbed here was threatened with a knife a year ago, his housemate said Monday, even as Australian authorities said it was too early to say the murder was racially motivated. Nitin Garg, 21, an accounting graduate, was knifed in West Footscray Saturday while on way to work. He staggered to Hungry Jack’s restaurant, where he worked part time, and begged for help before collapsing. He was rushed to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he died. Garg’s housemate Sandeep said he had been beaten and threatened with a knife by a gang at Newport train station just over a year ago. Sandeep, who had offered to drive Garg to work Saturday night, was quoted as saying in The Age: “I saw him 15 minutes before it happened. He would have gone through the park as it was a short cut to Hungry Jack’s. He was a good man, a great guy.” Sandeep said a cousin was on his way from India to take home Garg’s body. Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna condemned the killing and said the attack could strain bilateral ties. Australian leaders strongly condemned the attack but insisted it was too early to conclude it was a race attack an issue that has generated much heat in India. Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said: “I unreservedly condemn this attack. This is a nation that welcomes international students. We want to make them welcome, this is a welcoming and accepting country.” There was outrage in the Indian community over the attack. “It’s going to create some level of panic and we need some sort of reassurance from the government and the police,” said Gautam Gupta of the Federation of Indian Students of Australia. He said there was growing fear in the Indian community and this would escalate, whether the attack was racist or otherwise. “It’s obviously a real shock to our community; nobody expects the new year to start like this.” Acting Victorian Premier Rob Hulls said: “The tragic death of a young Indian lad is abhorrent, it is a heinous crime and it is something that the police are putting all resources into investigating and finding the culprit. I don’t think anyone should jump to conclusions at this stage. “I think it’s important that police be allowed to get on with the job of investigating this heinous crime,” Hulls told reporters Monday. He insisted that Victoria was one of the safest places in the world, with crime rates falling dramatically in the past few years. “We will continue to do what we can as a government to reduce crime, to make Victoria a safe place to live, a safe place to have holidays, a safe place to visit,” AAP news agency quoted Hulls as saying. There had been a spate of attacks on Indians in Australia last year. Indian students have been set upon and viciously assaulted, causing an outcry in India. Canberra had assured New Delhi over the safety of the students. About 115,000 Indians have studied in Australia in the last 12 months. Australia’s higher education industry is worth $17.2 billion a year and is listed as the country’s fourth largest export earner. Victorian Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu said Garg’s death was a tragedy and called for Melbourne to become a “no-knife” city. He also sought a crackdown on violent crime, including tougher sentences for offenders. “His death is a reminder, along with the other stabbings that have occurred over the last two days, that we have a terrible, terrible cultural problem in this city and in this state,” said Baillieu. Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe Monday said it was too early to speculate whether the murder was racially motivated. “One of the things about investigations and the investigation process is that you must have an open mind and you must not form any pre-conceived ideas or conclusions until such time as the evidence tells you what the cause is,” The Age quoted him as saying. “There is a very large population of Indian people and students in Victoria, but they make up an overall part of the population and anybody can be the subject of an assault or a robbery.” Australia condemns Indian student’s death Sydney, Jan 4 (Agencies): Australia condemned on Monday the killing of an Indian student in Melbourne, as India called for an end to the spate of attacks against Indian students which has damaged Australia’s multi-million dollar foreign student sector. Accounting graduate Nitin Garg, 21, originally from the state of Punjab in northern India, was stabbed to death on Saturday night on his way to a job at a fast food outlet in Melbourne. Police said the motive for the attack, which they described as vicious, was not known. Indian media have labelled the series of attacks against Indian students in Australia as racist, but police and the Australian government have said the attacks are purely criminal.

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