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Rage over killing of Indian in Australia

January 04, 2010 11:44 IST

Fury over the death of a 21-year-old Indian man in West Footscray on his way to work at a fast-food outlet on Saturday night has spilled onto India's media.

21-year-old Nitin Garg staggered 300 metres into Hungry Jacks at about 9.30 p.m. on Saturday after being stabbed as he walked through Cruickshank Park on his way to work. Garg, from Newport, had a police escort in the ambulance as they ferried him to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he died a short time later.

Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said the Australian authorities should be aware of the ''deep anger'' caused by such incidents and the ''bearing'' they could have on bilateral ties.

"The stabbing ... is brutal and I hope the Australian Government will take necessary action and not force India to look to other ways. We will not tolerate it any more," Krishna said. He directed the Indian High Commissioner in Canberra and the Indian Consul General in Melbourne ''to closely co-ordinate with the Australian authorities'' and to offer help to Garg's family and members of Victoria's Indian community.

Acting Victorian Premier Rob Hulls said the murder was abhorrent but people should not jump to conclusions about it being a racial attack.  Hulls said he had not been advised on whether the stabbing was a hate crime.

"The tragic death of a young Indian lad is, I repeat, abhorrent, it is a heinous crime and it is something that the police are putting all resources into investigating and finding the culprit,'' he told reporters.

"I don't think anyone should jump to conclusions at this stage. I think it's important that police be allowed to get on with the job of investigating this heinous crime,'' he added. Readers today vented their fury over the stabbing on India''s news websites.

''I am an Indian occupying a reasonably responsible position in Australia, but I can state without any doubt that this is a racist country, which discriminates Indians on every count,'' James wrote.

''Well can't blame the Aussies. They started as a bunch of thugs, killed the Aborigines and now they continue to do same,'' wrote Daffy. Sunny commented: ''In India, target these criminals and teach them a lesson''. Neck Breaker said: ''Ban over flight of Qantas through Indian air space. Ban all imports from Australia. Ask British to de-colonise Australia or India does it.

These white dogs understand only one language, kick in the face ... '' Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe today said it was too early to speculate whether the murder was racially motivated and it was a tragic incident.

He said the assaults and robberies appeared to be more opportunistic. Garg's family has contacted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ask for help in bringing his body home.  It was not the first time Garg had been attacked. His housemate, Sandeep said he had been beaten and threatened with a knife by a gang at Newport train station just over a year ago. Sandeep had offered to drive him to work on Saturday night, but Garg declined.

"I saw him 15 minutes before it happened. He would have gone through the park, as it was a short cut to Hungry Jack''s. He was a good man, a great guy," he said. He said a cousin of Garg was on his way from India to retrieve the body, adding that the authorities were still holding on to it, and it could be up to a week before it was released.