M A I N   N E W S

Four Indians attacked in Oz
Dinesh Kumar writes from Melbourne

A day after Australia announced it was setting up a high-level group to look into the causes of the continuing attacks against Indians in this country, four Indian youths, including three taxi drivers, were attacked in separate incidents in Brisbane yesterday. Only last week two Indian youths, including a cabbie, were attacked in Brisbane, which is the capital of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s home state of Queensland.

One Indian cabbie was punched and dragged from his taxi, while a 23-year-old pizza delivery youth was bashed with a cricket bat and robbed while making a delivery, a day after the country celebrated Australia Day. So far one person has been arrested for one of the incidents in Brisbane, which seems to be fast turning into a new hot spot of attacks on Indians. Indian High Commissioner Sujatha Singh, who reached Brisbane today on a scheduled visit, is expected to meet with Queensland government officials, including those from the Brisbane police, tomorrow to discuss the spate of attacks on Indians in the state this month.

Brisbane, which is the country’s third most populated state with about 2 million residents, has a relatively tiny Indian population of about 10,000. However, Indians account for about 70 per cent of the taxi drivers in Brisbane which make them prone to attacks and rowdy behaviour.

Indian couple held for Ranjodh’s murder

In Sydney, the police today arrested an Indian Punjabi couple — a 23-year-old man and his 20-year-old wife — for the death of 25-year-old Ranjodh Singh, whose badly burnt body was found by a roadside near a farm in the New South Wales town of Griffith on December 29. Ranjodh Singh, who is believed to have come to Australia on a contract marriage, was a seasonal contract worker based in Wagga Wagga and was burnt alive and left to die after first “significant” injuries had first been inflicted on him. The cause of Ranjodh Singh’s death is believed to be related to money matters and rules out any racist angle. Reacting to the demonstrations outside the Australian High Commission in New Delhi, Victoria Premier John Brumby in Melbourne said attacks against Indians in his state “were being perpetrated by a small and ignorant minority” and his government was “concerned with the recent incidence of violence”.

So far this month in Victoria alone, which has been the centre of most attacks on Indians in Australia, a youth has been fatally stabbed, a youth and a gurdwara building under construction have been set on fire, about half-a-dozen taxi drivers been assaulted by drunken or rowdy passengers and at least two students attacked in street violence.



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