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Indian on hunger strike dies in Austria

September 14, 2009 19:56 IST

A 20-year-old Indian asylum seeker in Austria, who had been on a hunger strike since August 7 to protest his imminent expulsion, died on Monday in a Vienna detention centre, police said.

Gaganpreet Singh, who had been in preventive detention since August 4 and was refusing to eat since August 7, died at the Vienna-Hernals police centre.

The police said an initial investigation had shown no visible connection between the hunger strike and Singh's death, the Austrian Times reported.

In a statement, the Vienna police said that it had called for an autopsy of Singh to establish the exact cause of death. The results were not yet available. Earlier, a doctor who examined him on Sunday said that Singh did not need to be transferred to the  hospital and could remain in the detention centre.

A guard called in doctors today morning after he was unable to wake the man, but they were unable to help him as he was already dead, the paper reported. Interior Minister Maria Fekter has regretted Singh's death.

Fekter said that Austrian law did not allow forced feeding of people on hunger strikes. She said doctors had constantly evaluated his health during the hunger strike, the newspaper reported.

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