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Indian Youth Murdered In Australia

PTI 03 Jan 2010, 19:10:05 PM IST

An Indian youth was on Sunday  stabbed to death by unidentified assailants here, becoming the first victim to succumb to injuries amid a string of racial attacks on the community members in Australia. 

21-year-old Nitin Garg, who migrated from Punjab and had permanent residency in Australia, was stabbed in the abdomen in a park while on his way to fast food joint Hungry Jack's restaurant, where he worked part-time. 

He staggered into the restaurant on the corner of Somerville Road and Geelong Road, West Footscray, about 10 pm local time last night (0330 HRS IST this morning) and pleaded for help before collapsing. 

Garg, who on a previous occasion also was beaten up by a group of men at the Newport Railway Station, was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, but he later died. 

Police said the youth from Newport had travelled to Yarraville train station about 9.30 pm local time (0300 HRS IST), then walked along Anderson Street to Cruickshank Park, where he was stabbed in the abdomen. He managed to stumble some 300 metres to the Hungry Jack's restaurant. 

Nearly 100 cases of attacks on Indians, mostly racial, were reported in Australia in 2009 as against 17 incidents of assaults in 2008. But, Garg, who was the first Indian to be attacked this year, had been the only victim of such assaults to succumb to injuries.   Police Homicide Squad Senior Sergeant Dave Snare described it as a vicious attack. 

Sen Sgt Snare said at this stage there was no known motive and there was no evidence the youth was targeted because of his race. "I think to draw any conclusion as to the motive may interfere with the investigation and would be presumptuous at this stage," he said. The Indian Consulate here declined to comment on the fatal attack on Garg.

The Federation of Indian Students Association (FISA) expressed its deep concern over the attack, with its Founding President Gautam Gupta saying that the organisation was in touch with the victim's friends and providing all support. 

Police were trying to contact relatives of the victim, a single man, abroad to determine if he had any family here. Garg's friends said he feared for his safety following a previous attack, local media reported, without mentioning when it had happened. His housemate, Parminder Singh, said his friend was nervous after being beaten up by a group of men at the Newport Railway Station. 

"They were just drunk and they wanted to find anyone to beat," Singh was quoted as saying by ABC News. "If they find someone alone they just beat (them) because they know nothing is going to happen after that. 

"What will happen? Police will not do anything, they will just take them to the jail or just let them sit there, they will give them food and all facilities so they're not scared of anything." Police said they were awaiting results of a post-mortem examination on the victim's body.  

Strongly condemning the "brutal" killing , India on Sunday asked Australia to bring to book those responsible for the crime and said such incidents could have a "bearing" on bilateral ties. 

"The brutal attack on the Indian student is strongly condemnable. I call on the Australian authorities to speedily bring to book persons responsible for the crime," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told reporters in Bangalore. 

He said the Australian government should realise that India is a vibrant democracy and such attacks were making the public opinion "polarised". 

Krishna said Australian authorities should take note of the "deep anger" being caused by such incidents and the "bearing" they could have on bilateral ties. 

Noting that New Delhi has been drawing the attention of the Australian authorities to these incidents and asking Canberra to take stringent measures, he said India's concerns should be adequately addressed by the Australian government. 

An MEA statement in New Delhi said Krishna has directed the Indian High Commissioner in Canberra and the Indian Consul General in Melbourne to closely coordinate with the Australian authorities and extend all assistance to the family of victim Nitin Garg. 

There has been a string of racist attacks on Indians in Australia since last year, but Garg is the first victim to have died. PTI