Four more Indians attacked in Oz; Couple held in Ranjodh case

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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