Four more Indians attacked in Oz; Couple held in Ranjodh case
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Last Updated: Thursday, January 28, 2010, 19:39
  
Melbourne: With no let up in assault cases against Indians in Australia, four more youths from the community, including three cabbies, were attacked in Brisbane even as a couple was arrested today over the killing of Ranjodh Singh whose partially-burnt body was found last month.

"Four more attacks on Indians in Brisbane, Queensland, took place," Sky News reported, without identifying victims. "Three of them have been directed at cab drivers, one who told how he was punched and dragged from his taxi," it said.

The fourth victim was a 23-year-old pizza delivery boy who was bashed up with a cricket bat and robbed while making a delivery in Brisbane.

Brisbane-based Indian consul S D Singh said that police yesterday informed him about the attacks and also arrested one person involved in one of the incidents. He said he had no further details about the incidents.

"Indian High Commissioner Sujatha Singh will reach Brisbane shortly and meet community leaders and members of the Queensland police to discuss the recent spate of attacks," Singh said.

Meanwhile, a 23-year-old man and his 20-year-old wife were arrested at two addresses in Sans Souci in Sydney's south in connection with 25-year-old Ranjodh Singh's murder, police said.

Singh's body was found beside Wilga Road, Willbriggie, near Griffith, on December 29. He was last seen on the streets of Griffith three nights before his body was found.

Singh was working on a farm in Griffith, where he picked pumpkins, and lived in a shared house with other farm workers from India.

The arrested couple, who was not identified, will be charged with murdering Singh, police said, adding one more person is expected to be charged in the case.

"We believe there was a common purpose to kill Singh... The couple arrested was interviewed at Kogarah police station," Assistant Commissioner of Police Mark Murdoch was quoted as saying by the local media.

Quoting police, ABC said Department of Immigration officials took part in the operation during which the couple was arrested and spoke to several people at a San Souci home.

Detectives claimed that the arrested couple knew Singh well and worked with him on farms in the region.

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said a racial motive for the killing has been ruled out.

"We will allege that the persons taken into custody this morning and the victim Singh were well known to each other," he said, adding "we will allege that while Singh was a resident of Wagga, he and the people taken into custody worked there as seasonal workers, picking fruit."

Police also wanted to speak to the driver of a red Ford Falcon which was seen at a car wash in Griffith in the wee hours of December 29 when Singh's body was found.

Media reports said that Singh is believed to have been killed after a fight broke out at a party attended by him and a farm contractor, who had hired him, among others. The contractor is thought to have owed a handful of fruit pickers, including Singh, 9000 dollars.

Police have not revealed the cause of Singh's death.

Over 100 incidents of attacks on Indians, particularly students, were reported in 2009 in Australia and the assaults have continued this year unabated.

21-year-old Nitin Garg, who was stabbed to death by unidentified assailants while he was on his way to his part-time job in a restaurant here, was the first victim of such assaults this year.

The latest attacks in Brisbane brought to 10 the total number of assaults against Indians this month alone.

The Australian government has given a dossier on the attacks to India, which showed that nearly half of the assailants had been juveniles.

Under pressure from India, Australia also set up a high-level ministerial working group to comprehensively study the spate of attacks on Indians in the country.

The first meeting of the high-level group will take place by the end of this week, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said in London last night after a meeting with his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith on the sidelines of a global conference on Afghanistan.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, January 28, 2010, 19:39


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