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No bail for youngster charged in Indian's killing

January 26, 2008 19:23 IST

A 19-year-old youngster, charged with the killing of Indian graduate student Abhijit Mahato, has been ordered held without bond.

Durham County District Court judge Elaine Bushfan ordered that Stephen Lavance Oates be held without bond.

The judge also ruled that Oates be held on $1 million bond on charges of robbing 18 people, including 29-year-old Mahato, a Ph D student at the Duke University in North Carolina who was found shot dead inside his apartment.

Oates and three other people, including two 14-year-olds, were apprehended after a two-county police chase on Tuesday night. All four were charged with armed robbery and evading arrest.

Shocked Indian students in North America have launched an online petition addressed to the Indian government and the Indian embassy in Washington, lashing out at the alleged apathy of local autorities in the case.

The students coming from all over the US and Canada say the murder of Mahato, the third such incident in about a month, has left them worried and fearful. Two Indian Ph D students were killed in Louisiana in December.

The petition urges the Indian government and the Indian embassy in Washington to dispatch advisories to all US universities to ensure complete safety of students of South Asian origin pursuing studies there.

"The Indian students' community across the United States in general and of Duke University in particular, is baffled by the apparent apathy of the police and the school authorities towards this ghastly and brutal killing," the petition cited in the website The Indian Star says.

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington, DC
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