Indian youth Nitin Garg, who was killed by unidentified assailants in Australia, was cremated in his native town on Sunday in the presence of a large number of mourners, including an Australian official who assured the family that the guilty will be punished.
21-year-old Nitin's younger brother Harish lit the funeral pyre in the local cremation ground after his body arrived in Jagraon in Punjab on Sunday morning from New Delhi, where it was brought from Australia on Saturday evening.
Emotional scenes were witnessed as the coffin was opened to enable the family to see Nitin's body for the last time. The family members wept inconsolably.
Among those who laid wreaths on his body was First Secretary in Australian High Commission Tim Hiengs.
Garg, who had a permanent residency in Australia, was stabbed in a Melbourne park on January 2 while he was on his way to a fast food joint where he worked part-time.
The killing, coming after a spate of assaults on Indians in Australia, sparked widespread outrage in India and prompted the government to warn that such incidents may have a bearing in the bilateral ties.
A large number of people joined the funeral procession from his residence in Vijay Nagar locality of the town, about 50 km from Ludhiana.
Tim offered condolence on behalf of Australian government and people to the bereaved family, including Nitin's 98-year-old grandfather Mohan Lal and his mother Prem, and assured them the guilty will be punished.
Nitin's father Fateh Chand, a local liquor contractor, had died in July last year.
Nitin's mother said that if she knew this will be Nitin's fate, she would not have allowed her son to return to Australia a month ago after his visit to home. "If this was to happen I would not have allowed him to return to Australia," she said with tears in her eyes.
Nitin had gone to Australia about three years back to pursue an MBA course and had returned home late last year after getting a permanent residency certificate.
"I expressed my condolences to the bereaved family. I told the family that the Australian government and also the people of Australia join us in condoling the death of Nitin," Tim told PTI.
"I assured the family that the Australian government is working on the case. The guilty would be punished whenever they are caught as per the law of the land," he said.
The others who laid wreaths on Nitin's body included Ludhiana MP and Congress General Secretary Manish Tewari, Punjab Jail Minister Hira Singh Gabria, who represented the Chief Minister, Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Vikas Garg, Jagraon Superintendent of Police Harinder Singh Chahal and a number of MLAs.